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Beyond The Sea Review

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A musical biopic which retraces Bobby Darin's (Spacey) journey from sickly child to pop idol. It also takes in his marriage to American screen-sweetheart Sandra Dee (Bosworth) and the consuming ambition that contributed to his death.

★★★★★

Kevin Spacey gives an awesome display of his multi-talents as producer-director-star of a labour that also gives him the chance to put his dance lessons to use. As for portraying Bobby Darin from youth to his death at 37, the 45 year-old Spacey addresses that wittily early on when a character demands, "Isn't he too old to play this part?" His Bobby, you see, is a presenter from beyond, a commentator as well as participant in a fantasy "self-portrait".

In a picture that rubs drama with big, bonkers production numbers - think All That Jazz colliding with Absolute Beginners - the non-linear concept takes some time to embrace. The musical montage and homage doesn't always work, but Spacey is a terrific singer who does Darin in concert superlatively, while the moving finale is a wow.

Ironically, this loving tribute to a forgotten talent arrives amid a wave of showier showbiz biopics (we've already had De-Lovely, with Ray and The Aviator to come), potentially limiting its appeal to those who swayed to Darin's classic stylings of Mack The Knife and the title song. But Spacey deserves the attention, as much for his multi-tasking abilities as for spinning a satisfying biopic.

Ambitious and unexpected, with stylish musical numbers and a sympathetic performance from Spacey.