BEYOND THE SEA: DVD
With a heart damaged by rheumatic fever, Walden Robert Cassotto - Little Bobby (William Ullrich) isn't supposed to live past 15. But when his mother Polly (Brenda Blethyn) shows him the happiness that comes with music, Bobby finds the inspiration he needs to stay alive - and a new, more commercial name: Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey). With the support of his older sister Nina (Caroline Aaron) and Nina's husband Charlie (Bob Hoskins), Bobby becomes a star. Working with his best friend and manager, Steve Blauner (John Goodman), Bobby charts his own stubbornly eclectic musical path, and even launches a movie career. He marries America's favorite young star, Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), but his relentless professional ambition has begun to poison his private life, and the late 60s find him isolated, confused and directionless.
Review by Louise Keller:
A hybrid between a Hollywood musical and a biopic as it canvasses the life and times of crooner Bobby Darin, Beyond The Sea is primarily a showcase for the considerable talents of Kevin Spacey. We already know Oscar winner Spacey can act and some may have seen his 1996 directing debut of crime thriller Albino Alligator. Here, Spacey shows he can dance, sing and swing with the best of them. Yes, he sings like a dream with the same kind of immaculate phrasing and melodic fluidity that allowed Darin (born Walden Robert Cassolto) to be compared with Sinatra in the 60s. Spacey is worth the price of a ticket, but the film's structure gets in the way.
'Memories are like moonbeams - we do with them what we will,' says Darin, who uses the phrase as a licence to repurpose, represent and reassemble crucial parts of his life. It's the story of the boy from the Bronx, who marries picture perfect teen-queen actress Sandra Dee, and despite an outstandingly successful career as a pop singer, nightclub performer, actor and television star, struggles with happiness and his identity. Stacey gathers a strong cast including a big-hearted Bob Hoskins as his in-law and Brenda Blethyn as his mother Polly, who tells him as a child 'you can never go wrong with the truth.' She is the one who introduces him to music, opening the door to a world outside his reality and the respiratory illness that kept him bedridden as a child.
Caroline Aaron as Nina brings the film's most poignant moment, when Darin pays a special tribute on stage at his triumphant Las Vegas cabaret comeback. Kate Bosworth is perfect as the innocent and lovely Sandra Dee, whose name later became synonymous with that of her screen alter-egos, Gidget and Tammy.
There are similarities and differences between this and the Cole Porter bio-pic De-Lovely. Both films flash from the present to the past, and while Spacey's intention may have been to reconcile the man with the boy within, the constant leaps in time make us keep our distance. Musical numbers are excellent, but are indulgently played in full, a decision which works both for and against the film as a whole.
There's a director's commentary on the DVD, together with a behind the scenes feature and cast/crew interviews.
Published November 23, 2006
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BEYOND THE SEA: DVD (M)
CAST: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Greta Scacchi, Caroline Aaron
PRODUCER: Kevin Spacey, Jan Fantl, Andy Paterson
DIRECTOR: Kevin Spacey
SCRIPT: Kevin Spacey, Lewis Colick
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eduardo Serra
EDITOR: Trevor Waite
MUSIC: Non original: Bobby Darin, Henry Mancini, Nino Oliviero, Riz Ortolani, Charles Trenet. Original: Mick Jagger (song Let It Loose), Christopher Slaski (incidental)
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: IDT (Imagine)
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 13, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of feature; cast/crew interviews; director's commentary
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: IDF
DVD RELEASE: November 22, 2006