There's something about Kevin Spacey I don't like and I can never quite put my finger on it. I think he may exude a smugness that turns me off. On the other hand, I have seen him in a handful of movies where I really enjoyed him ("Glengarry Glen Ross", "The Usual Suspects", "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", "L.A. Confidential") and I can now add Beyond The Sea to that list.
Not only does Kevin Spacey star as Bobby Darin in Beyond The Sea, he also directed, co-wrote and co-produced the movie. Beyond The Sea is told in a series of flashbacks with Darin interacting with his younger self. It takes us back to Bobby Darin as a kid being diagnosed with rheumatic fever and not expected to live past the age of 15. While recuperating from his illness Darin finds that he has a true talent for music and vows to become bigger than Frank Sinatra. We then follow his career from teen idol years with "Splish Splash" to his success as a top nightclub act and his major hit "Mack The Knife". He becomes such a top act that he is cast in movies where he meets the love of his life, Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth). In the late 60s' and early 70's, when he finds his type of music is no longer relevant, he turns to folk music but his audience rejects him. He eventually realizes that he can sing whatever he wants as long as he looks like "Bobby Darin" and not a "scruffy hippie".
The main problem with Beyond The Sea is that I never once thought I was watching Bobby Darin....only Kevin Spacey "playing" Bobby Darin. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Spacey's acting, he never hits a false note in the film. He just didn't occupy the role of Bobby Darin like Sissy Spacek did with Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter or Joaquin Phoenix did with Johnny Cash in Walk The Line. Someone that did disappear in their role was Kate Bosworth, every minute she was on screen I was convinced I was watching Sandra Dee.
I'm a sucker for big musical production numbers and there are three fantasy sequences in Beyond The Sea that were a joy to watch. All the songs in the movie are sung by Kevin Spacey with the exception of a couple of background songs in the late 60's/early 70s' section of Beyond The Sea, where you hear "Let It Loose" by The Rolling Stones and "Hush" by Deep Purple being played in the background. Unlike a few biopics that I have seen, where some facts will ring untrue, nothing jumped out at me in Beyond The Sea, although I'm sure everything is not one hundred per-cent accurate (there's ever a disclaimer at the end of the movie stating this fact).