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