Pirate Radio

Release Date: November 6, 2009
Limited release

That's a lot of hideous green clothing.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
13/13 Sean Collier The fact that there wasn't much of a plot aside, one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
30/38 John Seal Don't look for historical accuracy in this well cast but inconsequential comedy
73/169 Max Braden There are some amusing moments, but to find out the ship and the characters were fabricated is a real disappointment.

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The Boat That Rocked tackles a subject that hasn't exactly been cinematically overexposed - pirate radio stations in the North Sea and the effect they had on the British music and cultural scene in the 1960s. Like most recent movies set in that decade, it's all about the social effects/changes/progress made as a result of a particular person/invention/sports team. That might be what's on paper, but from another glance it looks like another film in the tradition of low-budget, light-hearted British comedies about motley bands of eccentrics working together to reach a common goal. The granddaddy of the genre and still its biggest hit, The Full Monty (1997), inspired the immigration of many of these films in the late 1990s and 2000s - some, like Saving Grace or Waking Ned Devine, with modest box office success. Though the genre's slowed down since, we've seen occasional examples like Kinky Boots (2006) and Death at a Funeral (2007) expand into regional release and gross a million or two for the home team.

The Boat That Rocked differs some, what with the presence of American stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (in a change of pace from Oscary roles) and January Jones (a veteran of films that are best described as not quite Oscar bait). Another star, Bill Nighy, has almost uncannily succeeded as a character actor in big-budget Hollywood releases (the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, Valkyrie) at the same time a maintaining his credibility as a Serious English Actor (with Notes on a Scandal, TV's Gideon's Daughter, and now this). Quantum of Solace's Gemma Arterton also makes an appearance, marking time until her big 2010 blockbusters Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans probably make her the next Keira Knightley. British comic veterans Rhys Ifans and Nick Frost co-star, along with Shakespeare big-wig Kenneth Branagh. The film was written and directed by Richard Curtis, whose last big outing under those duties was 2003's romantic comedy success Love Actually. Curtis is well known to connoisseurs of English cinema, and is usually involved with high-profile, big-star romances like Notting Hill and the Bridget Jones films. But the lack of a strong romantic angle or Hugh Grant should differentiate this from Curtis's previous hits, to its detriment.

All-in-all, it's the kind of somewhat odd collection of talent that usually marks this type of English picture, and while the film performed steadily in its U.K. release, its mixed reviews and lack of a strong hook probably mean it will get lost in the American art house scene, without reaching more mainstream success or playing in a theater near you.

Kinky Boots it's not. (Michael Lynderey/BOP)




Vital statistics for Pirate Radio
Main Cast Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans
Supporting Cast Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Sturridge, Jack Davenport, Ralph Brown, Chris O'Dowd, January Jones
Director Richard Curtis
Screenwriter Richard Curtis
Distributor Universal Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.theboatthatrocked.net/
Rating R
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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