It just fades into the background every few years…
I have to start this review by saying that Richard Curtis is one of my favorite writers at the moment. Working Title puts out some of the best movies around and he has written the majority of them. Also, I just found out that he wrote my favorite episode of Doctor Who Series 5 (Vincent and the Doctor, watch it IMMEDIATELY).
For the second time in as many weeks, I have just finished watching Pirate Radio (or The Boat That Rocked if you’re watching it under its original title). If you have not seen this movie… what are you waiting for? A fantastic cast of British actors and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing pirate radio DJs of the sixties. Seriously, there is so much to love about this movie
As the opening of the movie tells us, most radio stations in Britain were only allowed to play one hour of rock a day, if that. So, what are rock and roll loving men of radio to do? Buy a boat, load it with a functioning radio studio and as many records as you can get your hands on, anchor it far out into the North Sea, and start broadcasting for twenty four hours a day far out of the reach of the very stodgy government.
Let the free-wheeling sixties hijinks ensue!
And ensue they do.
These hijinks are set to an amazing soundtrack that just cannot be stopped. The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Procol Haram, The Turtles, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Jeff Beck, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and oh so many more.
If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out. Not only is it a great story, it is a great story in one of the greatest times to be alive and to be a fan of rock and roll. This is when music was free of corporate influence (at least to the levels it would reach in the seventies and eighties) and had a soul.
There is a moment where everything looks quite bleak for the Radio Rock crew and the Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets on the air and gives this amazing speech. It gives me chills every time I’ve watched it. It has the same effect as the classic “mad as hell” speech in Network.
I mentioned Philip Seymour Hoffman before, and that’s just the American side of amazing acting in this film. We also get Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Darby, Chris O’Dowd, and even brief cameos by the amazing Emma Thompson and the lovely January Jones. It’s a wonder that boat could stay afloat with all that talent on board.
Also, to compound my Doctor Who nerdiness, another connection pops up in this film. Talulah Riley, who plays Marianne in the film, was Ms. Evangelista in one of my favorite two-part episode arcs of Doctor Who, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Pardon me, while I pause over her beauty.
William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who has never wanted to be a radio DJ more in his entire life than he does right now.