Pirate Radio (2009)

Pirate Radio (2009) aka The Boat that Rocked — I am a fan of British Invasion rock music from the 1960s as well as “sticking it to the man” stories so I suppose I was somewhat predisposed to enjoy this one. It’s lightweight fun, but I have to emphasize the fun part. Plus an excellent cast including Bill Nighy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Rhys Darby, Jack Davenport and Kenneth Branagh makes everything just sound good (I do believe there is some scientific explanation for why anything sounds funnier in an English accent). The frame story is your standard coming-of-age “one crazy summer” story centered around Carl (Tom Sturridge), whose mother (Emma Thompson) send him to live with his godfather (Nighy). It just so happens his godfather is the head of an enterprise to illegally broadcast contemporary rock music into the U.K., where it wasn’t played on the radio at all (being American and under the age of 50 I have no idea how true any of this is, and don’t rightly care). There are eccentric DJs (Hoffman, Ifans, Darby, Frost) and some government bureaucrats (Branagh and Davenport) set out to stop them. You can assume that everything ends up happily ever after (for the most part). The film plays as a series of shorter plotlines, backed up by the larger one (government trying to shut our lovable outlaws down). This is not life-changing stuff, as far as cinema goes but the movie takes you for a ride and it is an amusing one.

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