Sunday, October 11, 2009

These Pirates Rock The High Seas With Radio Waves

England has long given American movie goers something to talk about, several English stars have made the jump to Hollywood and have been successful. The comedies from England have played well here in the States, the main reason being we as Americans want to laugh at other peoples exploits. In "Pirate Radio" we get enough to laugh at and we even get to like several of the limey stars.

Carl (Tom Sturridge) arrives on the pirate radio ship, Radio Rock, after being sent to stay with the ship's Captain, his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy), to hopefully set his life on a different track after being expelled from school. Here he meets Radio Rock's crew of ramshackle disc jockeys, led by The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a buoyant rock-loving American, along with the suave and bawdy Dave (Nick Frost) and the naive but good hearted Simon (Chris O'Dowd). Also filling the airwaves is self proclaimed New Zealand "nut," Angus (Rhys Darby), the mysterious Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom) and the even more mysterious and downright disillusioned Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown). Serving as the ship's crew are the shy lesbian cook Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) and radio assistants, Harold (Ike Hamilton) and the appropriately nick-named Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke).

Dave takes Carl under his wing so to speak and tries to get him his first encounter with a woman. it of course goes wrong, for his birthday his godfather Quentin introduces him to his niece, Marianne (Talulah Riley), this as well turns out to end bad for Carl. Love strikes another crew member, Simon who meets and ends up getting married to the too good to be true American Elenore (January Jones) only to find her affections are really placed with the returning king of the airwaves, Gavin (Rhys Ifans). The Count objects to Gavin's antics with Elenore, leading to a clash of egos that ends in a truce after both suffer physical injuries jumping from the top of the ship's radio mast.

Radio Rock's controversial on-air antics have ruffled the feathers of a government minister, Dormandy, (Kenneth Branagh), who instructs his subordinate Twatt (Jack Davenport) to find a way to take down pirate radio, they find loop holes and they enact laws to stop this rock invasion. Dormandy proposes the creation of the Maritime Offences Act, which passes through Parliament without any shown opposition. This act makes it illegal to be broadcasting from anywhere on the high seas. The crew of Radio Rock choose to defy the act, for various different personal reasons, and continue to broadcast.

The jokes are mostly sexual in nature, what else would there be on a ship inhabited by mainly young men? Branagh comes off as tight and restrained. When the boat tries to escape from the police raids and the inevitable happens Twatt tries to get permission to save the crew members, he is told that better people have perished but the radio's listeners take note and decide to save the people that they have come to love. Making a small cameo is Emma Thompson as Charlotte, Carl's mother. The movie hits all the right notes, literally. The soundtrack is of several hits from the early and mid sixties. The music alone is worth going to see this movie. The cast includes some of Britain's heavy weight stars and they come across as some one that is likable and friendly enough.

I give Pirate Radio a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0 This high seas adventure is fun for the entire family, there is some language that may not be suitable for the youngsters but they may not get all the innuendos that come fast and hard throughout the movie. The adults will love this movie and any fans of early rock will absolutely love this movie. I can not recommend this movie any more highly.

Pirate Radio is rated R for Language, some Sexual Content Including Brief Nudity
Running time is 2 hrs. 14 mins.

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