Running time: 130 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15
UK Release Date: 1st April 2009
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 11th April 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
From right back in the early days of Blackadder on TV I have been a fan of the work of Richard Curtis. Unfortunately, of late, he seems to have lost the plot somewhat and this, sadly, is an example. Don’t get me wrong, it has its moments, but, with a very few exceptions, I really didn’t much care for any of the characters, and when that happens, you’re not on a winner I’m afraid.
The setting is a ship in the North Sea off the East coast of England in 1966. We are told that the national broadcaster, the BBC, only plays popular, or rock ‘n’ roll, music for only 45 minutes a day. This means that pirate radio stations, like the fictitious ‘Radio Rock’ plays all the rock and pop they want twenty four seven. And, because they are broadcasting from offshore, they are not breaking any laws. The government are not happy about this and one minister in particular, Sir Alistair Dormandy is charged with shutting them down. Our story beings with the arrival Carl, of the godson of Quentin, the station’s owner, on the boat. He’s introduced to all of the DJ’s, The Count, News John, Thick Kevin, Angus Nutsford, Doctor Dave, Simple Simon, Midnight Mark, Harold (the engineer) and Felicity (the cook). And later he meets Bob Silver. After the government makes it illegal to sell advertising to these stations, Quentin announces the return of an iconic DJ from the past, Gavin Canavagh, much to the dismay of The Count, who is currently rated the best DJ. I won’t say too much more about the plot, don’t want to give too much away to those that want to see it.
It’s quite a well made film, but there are several plot holes and inconsistencies that kind of spoilt it for me. There was a whole section of the film that just didn’t work for me and that’s the middle, where everyone’s jumping into bed with everyone else. If I wanted to see that kind of stuff I’d have got a Benny Hill DVD. The best performances came from Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Count, Bill Nighy as Quentin and Kenneth Branagh as Sir Alistair Dormandy. Nobody else really stretched themselves, but honourable mentions go to Tom Sturridge as Carl, Will Adamsdale as News John, Tom Brooke as Thick Kevin, Rhys Darby as Angus Nutsford, Nick Frost as Doctor Dave (hated this character), Katherine Parkinson as Felicity, Chris O'Dowd as Simple Simon, Tom Wisdom as midnight Mark and Rhys Ifans as Gavin Canavagh.
There is a great soundtrack, although given the period its set I am gob smacked that the Beatles do not have one track! Decent performances from the three I mentioned, but the script left a lot to be desired and I’m sure Mr Curtis can do so much better. So this does not come highly recommended from me, the soundtrack’s pretty good and there’s not a lot else to say about it really.
My score: 5.2/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1131729/
Official Site: http://focusfeatures.com/film/pirate_radio