Originally titled The Boat that Rocked in the UK when it was released in April, Pirate Radio will finally hit US cinemas on November 13th. Inspired by true stories of illegal radio stations based in the North Sea, Pirate Radio brings the energy and music of the “Swinging 60s” to the big screens.
The story is incredibly British (and quite educational for the non-Brit), as apparently the BBC only allowed rock/pop music on the radio for 60 minutes a day, leading DJs to create their own pirate stations on actual ships–as they were not technically on UK soil and therefore outside the law.
Plot-wise, there isn’t too much of a plot. It’s primarily a bunch of vignettes (rather like Love Actually) centered around the station/ship: Radio Rock. There’s Bill Nighy (playing Bill Nighy) aka Quentin the owner, his godson Carl (Tom Sturridge), The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Dave (Nick Frost), Gavin (Rhys Ifans), the other DJs and Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) as the only female allowed on the ship at all times because she is of “the lesbian persuasion.” The comedy follows the characters as they recreate the 60s mantra “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” on the ship, where women can only visit once a month, and attempt to out smart Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh), Mr. Twat (Jack Davenport), and the rest of Parliament.
Aside from the historical angle, the brilliant cast, and the creative minds behind it, the number one reason to see this film is for the music. From start to finish you’ll be bopping along to classic rock and roll songs from the 60s. When American Graffiti was first screened, George Lucas and company knew they had a hit as soon as the opening credits began with the iconic “Rock Around the Clock.” The audience was singing and dancing along, and Pirate Radio captures that same energy and nostalgia. Though it is certainly less wholesome than young Ron Howard and Cindy Williams, it’s still a great ride from beginning to end.
Director: Richard Curtis
Starring: Bill Nighy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Kenneth Branagh
Must see if you liked: American Graffiti
In theaters November 13, 2009.