© Solo Film Verleih GmbH

Beyond the Sea
U.S.A./Germany/U.K. 2004

Opening 17 Feb 2005

Directed by: Kevin Spacey
Writing credits: Kevin Spacey, Lewis Colick
Principal actors: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn

Kevin Spacey dreamt of making this film about Bobby Darin for over seventeen years. And the development of the film was tortured and confusing. It went through a number of “visions and revisions” and a number of writers who begged the Screen Writers Guild not to give them any credits. The final script was written by Spacey and Lewis Colick (who refused his automatic alphabetical position on top). It was also directed by Mr. Spacey, produced by Mr. Spacey, acted, sung and danced by Mr. Spacey, who also conducted the 17 piece orchestra. Spacey was considered too old for the part at 40 when he brought the film to Paramount six years ago. They were right, but that is not all that is wrong with this film

If you close your eyes during the songs you may not hear an exact imitation of Bobby Darin’s voice, but Kevin Spacey can certainly sing and has evident talent as a jazz singer and musician. As the arrangements of all the songs were Darin’s, that part works well and the last few songs in particular are really good. The dance scenes are a disaster: Spacey should have left those out, and his performance as Bobby Darin is, in my opinion, positively embarrassing! As for the script, in an attempt to paint his idol in the most heroic colors, all the dark parts of Darin’s life and personality are left out, as are those of his wife, Sandra Dee (played competently by Kate Bosworth). The result is a sentimental, uncritical puff piece which is so treacly it makes you cringe.

If you love the music, buy the real Bobby Darin 4 CD-set (“As Long As I’m Singing: The Bobby Darin Collection” by Rino records) or go see Kevin Spacey on his upcoming tour as Bobby Darin (72 appearances in the States this coming year). But spare yourself the film! (Adele Riepe)

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