Pirate Radio (2009)


To all our listeners, this is what I have to say – God bless you all. And as for you bastards in charge, don’t dream it’s over. Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place. But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song. Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there’ll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.

— The Count

Pirate Radio is Americanized version of the British film, The Boat That Rocked that was released earlier this year across the pond. The television trailer advertised this movie as a single American deejay taking a stand to the British government. That is not entirely true. So much have been cut out that it makes the story boring. It did.

In 1966, radio stations in Britain play less than forty minutes of rock and roll music a day. There is a single boat called Radio Rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that broadcasts 24 hours of rock and roll.

A young man, Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to the boat, because he was expelled from school for smoking some grass. His godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy) is the owner of the pirate radio station. Carl is introduced to the various deejays there like The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Angus (Rhys Darby), Dave (Nick Frost), Simon (Chris O’Dowd), Mark (Tom Wisdom) and Bob (Ralph Brown).

Carl becomes one of the helpers with News John (Will Adamsdale), Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke), Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) and Harold (Ike Hamilton). The pirates want to stand up to the status quo.

The British government wants to shut down the pirate radio station by Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branaugh). He thinks that the music is corrupting the youth to drink, fornicate, and experiment with drugs. His only mission is to shut down the radio station within a year.

Alistair enlists Twatt (Jack Davenport) to help shut down the station. First, they have it to illegal to advertise on the station. It seems to work, but the station brings back a retired deejay, Gavin (Rhys Ifans) to woo the advertisers back. The Count is threatened by Gavin’s arrival.

Alistair has grown impatient with Twatt “going for the jugular”. Twatt finds a way to shut them down when a fisherman’s distress call is blocked. They try to get the public on their side by January 1; pirate radio will be illegal because the endangerment of fisherman on the open seas, The Marine Offenses Act.

I thought that the movie was be about the the government trying to shut down the pirate radio station, but it’s not. I had to have these twists and turns about coming of age and paternity determination. It’s like a dead fish wrapped in the newspaper sitting on the deck for a week. PSH tries so hard to recapture his Lester Bangs persona, but it falls short here. The classic rock & roll music was the redeeming quality this movie.

Judgment: A watered down movie that doesn’t keep your attention afloat.

Rating: ***

About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on November 16, 2009, in 2009, Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romantic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I admit, my only true draw to this film is Philip Seymour Hoffman, which is often the case in some of the ventures he takes, but even with a mediocre movie his performance is usually worth watching anything.

  2. If you’re sure that The Boat That Rocked and Pirate Radio are different cuts of the same movie, it would go a long way to explain the discrepancy between people’s impressions of the film. CBC gave it a pretty limp review, but makes no mention that there is an alternate cut, which would probably explain to commenters on the site why the reviews take on the film was so different from their own.

    To be honest, I’m surprised that they would do something so stupid to a movie who’s intent was so clear…

    You know, I’ve actually met some of the guys who were on one of these boats – very cool.

  1. Pingback: LAMBScores: Pirate Radio & 2012 | Horror Movies Blog

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