Monday, 23 July 2012

Film Review: RADIO ON (1979)

Radio On - poster Director: Christopher Petit
Writers: Christopher Petit, Heidi Adolph
Running Time: 104 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Drama/Music/Mystery
UK Release Date: 1979

Watched on Sky+ Monday 23rd July 2012.


I heard about this film when it came out and it’s always been at the back on my mind ever since. I guess because it features a journey to my home town of Bristol it probably made me feel nostalgic for the place I left at the age of twelve. Well time passes and I still haven’t returned there to live (yet) but at least I’ve had an opportunity to see this film. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Radio On - 3 When DJ Robert hears that his brother has died in circumstances that are not exactly clear, he decides to travel to Bristol to investigate. At best he appears to be apathetic about life and this task seems to be no exception. We follow his journey and the people he meets on the way. These include a deserter from the army who does not want to return for another tour of duty in Northern Ireland. There’s also a guy at a petrol station who’s a fan of Eddie Cochran who died in a car crash not far from the garage. When he finally arrives he discovers that his brother had been living with a woman, Kathy, and despite some blatant clues he finds it hard to investigate his death any further. He meets a German woman, Ingrid, who wants custody of her daughter and he takes her to meet the father’s aunt. Will he rediscover his drive and find out what happened to his brother or will this sense of apathy take him in a different direction? Well I’m feeling a little apathetic now so I’ll leave it there.

Radio On - 1 Filmed in black and white with some great imagery; I love how this film looks with its art-house styling. There is a pretty good soundtrack with songs from the likes of David Bowie, Ian Dury, Kraftwerk and Devo… amongst others. All the performances were good but all delivered in a very ‘matter of fact’ manner. David Beames took centre stage as Robert with Lisa Kreuzer playing Ingrid. Sandy Ratcliff was Kathy and Andrew Byatt the Deserter but (for me) the star turn was a brief cameo from Sting as the Eddie Cochrane loving petrol pump attendant.

Radio On - 8 I must admit I was somewhat disappointed by this film. I expected a little more focus on the music for one thing and the fact that everyone in Bristol seemed to speak with a London accent didn’t help! It has a very slow pace which I was prepared to accept as long as something happened. Sadly, apart from one bright sequence featuring Sting, not a lot seemed to. There are also sequences where the majority of the dialogue is in German, with no subtitles; very odd! I will give the filmmakers credit for some excellent imagery showing just how bleak an English winter can be (even in the South). Over all I’d say one for lovers of art-house films… for them, Recommended… for the general cinebuff… maybe not.

My Score 6.4/10

IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 296 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: NO DATA: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Radio On - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: NO DATA (based on 0 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 12/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 625 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Iwas disappointed by the film, too. I satyded in bristol for five yeara studying and thw film did not justice to city as cienam material.It is, also, very apathetic like its protagonist,