Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #40: Pirate Radio (2009)

Lovers of rock and/or roll, lend me your ears!!! your eyes for a minute.

It's time to promote the coolest, rockiest and probably funniest nautical comedy ever to grace international waters.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present for your viewing consideration: PIRATE RADIO!

Pirate Radio, much like Do The Right Thing (the subject of my last review) is largely character-driven, but it presents one of the most lovable casts of characters since music-movie classic, Empire Records.

The film is set in 1966, and it depicts life on board Radio Rock, a ship that broadcasts rock n' roll music from outside the jurisdiction of the British government, since at that time Britain was hosting a decidedly ungroovy ban on broadcasting rock over the radio.

Pirate Radio mostly takes the perspective of Young Carl (Tom Sturridge), a troubled lad whose mother has sent him to live on the ship under the guidance of his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy) in a misguided attempt to straighten him out after he's been expelled from school.

However, sending the boy to live amongst rock 'n roll DJ's in order to make him a more disciplined, upstanding citizen turns out to be as ridiculous as sending a six-year old to work in a candy shop in order to enforce responsible eating habits.

Carl is swiftly taken under the wing of the ship's record-spinnin', jam-pushin' crew, consisting of radio DJ's all along the spectrum of wackiness. There's The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Dr. Dave (Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost), Angus (Flight of the Conchords' Rhys Darby) and the mysterious late-night DJ, Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown), who is more of a legend than a man, since he only emerges from his cabin once every twenty-four hours to spin ditties for all the lovers out in Radio-Land.

The cast of characters are what make Pirate Radio such a charming feature, and the personalities of each DJ really shine through when the suave "King of the Airwaves," Gavin Kavanagh (Rhys Ifans) rocks the boat with his return.

And let's not forget Kenneth Branagh as the crusty government minister who tries to shut down Radio Rock from the shore. He really steals the show.

Pirate Radio is full of great moments, and although it's not an outrageous laugh-a-minute gag-fest, it strikes the right balance between substance and humour to make it really worthwhile.

The story is also richly multifaceted, since focus is placed on each of the wonderfully diverse characters, delving into their personal lives, their squabbles with one another, and their reconciliations.

Conflict also occur both on and off the boat, which gives the audience a number of storylines to follow, while the coming-of-age story for Young Carl that underlies the entire film.

And it's impossible to talk about Pirate Radio without mentioning the epic soundtrack. Pretty well every song in this movie is a Britrock hit from the 1960's, and when each scene is kicked off with a classic tune, it's music to any music-fan's ears.

Pirate Radio is a great, lighthearted comedy for music-lovers and movie-lovers alike. I'd recommend it to anyone who digs slightly absurd, character-driven narratives, and also likes to rock out.

This is DJ Pose, signing off.

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