Put simply, the film is a dazzling and fearless piece of showmanship. From early on, when the residents of Darin’s Bronx neighborhood break out into an eye-popping Vincente Minnelli–esque production number choreographed to Sid Arodin and Hoagy Carmichael’s "Up a Lazy River," you can see that Spacey is on to something, that in a season brimming with superficial-bordering-on-fraudulent biopics (Rayand Finding Neverland chief among them), Beyond the Sea is the only one aside from Bill Condon’s Kinsey that really gets inside the head of its subject, that pulses with his life blood. In doing so, Spacey has also crafted the only American screen musical in eons — maybe since Fosse’s — with a genuine feel for the musical form, for the geometric movement of dancing bodies in brilliantly colored costume, for the expressive power of words sung instead of spoken. Whether Darin is courting Dee to the strains of the title tune or tap dancing with the spirit of his own childhood self to "As Long As I’m Singing," Spacey is constantly imagining new ways of associating image, performance and music, and it’s a thrill to watch him do it. He may not be a George just yet. But there’s definitely no mistaking him for a Louis.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA| Directed by JOEL SCHUMACHER | Written by ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER and SCHUMACHER, based on the novel by GASTON LEROUX | Produced by WEBBER | Released by Warner Bros. | Citywide