Movie Reviews
About Me


Current Reviews
Four-Star Movies

Beyond the Sea (2004): **½

Directed by Kevin Spacey

What a really, very bizzarre movie. You'd think it would be a biopic about Bobby Darin, right? Well, in a way it is. But you wouldn't expect a biopic about pop star Bobby Darin to be so, well, surreal. There's no other way I can think of describing it.

How else do you describe a movie where the main character talks to a child version of himself, and the two frequently argue about how events actually transpired? Or a film that has musical numbers and then freely admits that the real think didn't happen at all like that, but it makes a better story this way, doesn't it?

In other words, there's a Bobby Darin bio pic somewhere buried under all this weird movie-within-a-movie, beyond-the-grave-narration, surrealism.

Those parts are the good parts. The hilarious scene where they write Splish-Splash and the people in the booth are looking at each other and saying, "This song makes no sense." After Bobby Kennedy is shot and Darin tries to re-invent himself as a folk singer, only to have an unappreciative audience shout out, "Sing Dream Lover! Sing Splish-Splash!" and boo him off the stage when he refuses to be someone he no longer is.

Especially funny are the re-creations of the movies Darin did, most especially in his Academy Award nominated role as shell-shocked airman Jim Tompkins in Captain Newman, M.D.

It's all the framing devices that don't really work. Sometimes they're entertaining, but they don't add anything more than distractions. There's also some sloppy writing from Spacey, where an important prop (a watch) is introduced late in the 3rd act by a FLASHBACK, whereas the scene could have very easily been placed in the beginning of the movie where, you know, it takes place chronologically. Very bizzarre choice there.

So the movie only really half-works. Besides that, Bobby Darin had a life that was really missing a third act, so it's a difficult life to make into a movie.

[back] [top] [current reviews] [archives]