johnlink ranks PIRATE RADIO (2009)

I caught pieces of this when it had a short run in the theater this year. Every time I stepped in, I found myself laughing at the antics, or smiling at the music. This is the story of a time when British radio did not allow Rock music to be played on air (late 60s). In response, several groups of DJs went into international waters to broadcast. This is a fictional story, loosely based on those events.

I watched PIRATE RADIO (2009) on 12.13.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

This film should be more specifically titled PIRATE RADIO: FUN ACTORS HAVING FUN. We get Philip Seymour Hoffman playing an American DJ. And we get great across-the-pond actors like Bill Nighy, Rhys Darby, Rhys Ifans and Emma Thompson playing other boat-occupants or visitors. But best of all, Kenneth Branagh playing the villain: a government official hellbent on destroying Rock Radio, and chewing every scene he is in.

The script and editing are a little inconsistent. On one hand, with the dozen occupants all on one boat we shouldn’t run out of stories, but some of the romantic themes get somewhat repetitive. It seems the film hasn’t enough ides for its run time. On the other hand, there are giant jumps in time and many conveniences taken in terms of so many people on a little boat having no idea what everyone else on the boat is doing. Also, a ‘stag party’ which has an intro like we’re about to go on a roller coaster ride, lasts four of five shots and ends in a hangover. Editors got a little cut happy with that scene.

But some moments are great. There is a game of chicken which provides the film’s high point. Everything with Branagh is gold. And a wedding has an unexpected end.

Could these same actors have made a better, funnier film? Perhaps. But I’m glad they told this story. I’ll take its inconsistencies because the joy they all have masks many of the flaws. This is certainly worth seeking out.



The bonus is for the 60’s rock soundtrack, which just pops throughout the film. The selection is not just good, solid music, but it always fits the situation to perfection.



~ by johnlink00 on December 13, 2010.

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