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PIRATE RADIO, 2009
Movie Review

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PIRATE RADIO MOVIE POSTERPIRATE RADIO, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by Richard Curtis
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wisdom, Rhys Darby, January Jones
Review by Martyn Warren


SYNOPSIS:

A 1960's comedy about an illegal radio station run by a band of rogue DJs on a ship in the middle of Britain's North Sea. By defying the tastes and laws of the ruling government, the disc jockeys hooked their listeners on pop music and its attendant ideas of love and free will.

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REVIEW:

When the film was released in the UK on the 1st of April, it didnít gain much profit over itís first opening weekend and I found this quite surprising since this would be a film from Richard Curtis that isnít on his long list of romantic comedy scripts. This surprise was before seeing the film and after watching it, itís no wonder it didnít gain so much popularity.

The story sets up with the British sixties, when rock ní roll music was considered illegal and the only radio station that rebelled against the law to play this genre of music was the crew of Radio Rock.

We focus most of the film on the people behind the pirate radio station when Carl (Tom Sturridge), the nephew of the owner Quentin (Bill Nighy), wants to work on the boat and weíre introduced to the other wacky and lovable characters, including The Count (Phillip Seymor Hoffman), Dave (Nick Frost), Angus (Rhys Darby) and Gavin (Rhys Ifans).

Some parts of the film also focus on the government minister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) and his subordinate Twatt (Jack Davenport) as they try numerous ways to take down Radio Rock. These parts of the story only appear occasionally, but even so, they arenít as fun as the scenes set on the boat and brings the film to a full stop in itís fun pace.

With Richard Curtis writing and directing The Boat That Rocked (dir. Richard Curtis), the film has some good points about it that makes it very colourful and filled with character, but the aim on this true story isnít exactly the best choice to go with either.

Focussing on the good points of the film, the scenes that are based on the crew of the boat is all portrayed lovable and humorous with some based on the stereotypical characteristics from the 1960s. Though the film focuses on a rock ní roll radio station, the film is aimed at the crewmembers rather than the music and though this might disappoint some, the same approach worked really well for Anvil!: The Story of Anvil (dir. Sacha Gervasi). The costume and location departments of the film have really pulled of to give the impression that it is Britain in the sixties, which help to bring lots of colours for the storytelling.

Now for the bad points. Though the filmís scenes on Radio Rock are very entertaining, the scenes that are set in Britain on Dormandy and Twatt are very flat one-liners and humour, with the joke of Twattís name being mentioned a dozen times throughout the film and does bring the quirky pace to a screeching halt.

Another thing I should mention for the bad parts of this film is the way Curtis decided to portray the story. Rather then using the opportunity to write something in a different way rather than his usual attempts, he has written another screenplay in his usual, light-hearted way. I personally donít have problems with a light-hearted film, but Iím starting to get bored of his style after his previous hits (Bridget Jonesísí Diary (dir. Sharon Maguire), Four Weddings and a Funeral (dir. Mike Newell) and Love Actually (dir. Richard Curtis) and the fact that the Radio Rock scenes werenít as hardcore as it could have been doesnít make this a true portrayal for the passion of music.

My overall opinion on the film is that while some of the scenes are entertaining and focuses on an interesting topic, it just simply falls short from the other successful music films that people remember. With the light take and mixture of some dull comedic scenes of the minister, I would suggest picking up Anvil! The Story of Anvil instead.

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