Synopsis: In the 1960s a group of rogue DJs, on a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, played rock records and broke the law for the love of music.
Release Date: November 13, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
The year is 1966 and the ’60s, as the movie boldly declares, is the greatest era for British Rock and Roll with bands like The Who making your daddy upset. In this film, “daddy”, is the BBC and the only way to get popular rock on the radio is to broadcast from the sea aboard a vessel inhabited by DJ veterans, several swingers, one virgin, and one woman, who happens to be gay. “Pirate Radio” has everything going for it: great actors, a great soundtrack, but the movie itself is disappointingly bland. For a movie about musical freedom and standing up to the man, one would expect more stylistic ingenuity throughout rather than merely at the beginning and end credits. In fact, the film almost unintentionally supports the man by reducing its only Black character to a mime and presenting women solely as cooks and objects to be shagged. Sure, maybe the ’60s were all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but why then is the party so devoid of fun? That’s ultimately what’s wrong with this film, unintentional racism and sexism aside, the audience cannot enjoy themselves because with very little character development aimed for empathy we never really feel like we’re actually invited. Director Richard Curtis (Love Actually) goes with an episodic aesthetic that captures the scene and some of the mood of ’60s Brit Rock, but none of its spirit. At the end of the film album covers from everyone from Nirvana to Taylor Swift to Eminem are flashed upon the silver screen. Bands who rocked out in the ’60s most definitely paved the way for the artists of today, but unfortunately, this particular film isn’t nearly as inspiring.
Choosing the tracks for any movie paying homage to music, in this case ’60s rock and roll is a daunting task. Thankfully, Director Richard Curtis isn’t tone deaf and puts together a satisfying sampling of the era. Spending more money on music rights than script rewrites, the audience is treated to the sounds of The Rolling Stones, The Turtles, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. The bands are classic and the music is great, but the only thing preventing the soundtrack from being perfect is the movie itself. Most of the time the music seems to exist separate from the film rather than compliment the actual scenarios taking place on screen. One need not watch this film to enjoy the music; it would be infinitely more satisfying to conjure up a record player some how, some old vinyl, possibly some mary jane, and just enjoy the ride. Interested?
If there’s anything in this film that screams Rock and Roll it’s the costumes. Especially in contrast to the stark black and white suits of the BBC, the outfits of the Radio Rock crew are outrageous ’60s fun. There’s groovy patterns of blue and red flowers printed on the collared shirts of the gentlemen, and for the ladies, exotically pointed white boots paired with electric green stockings. Other items of clothing include striped pants, knitted wool sweater vests and beanies, crazy yellow-checkered jackets, and stained glass tuxedos. At one point, famed DJ Gavin sports a pimped out purple velvet suit complete with pimp hat. The most entertaining costumes belong to Bill Nighy however, with his perfectly fitted suits and matching scarves, one original outfit to the next for each scene. The movie itself may lack rock and roll spirit, but the costumes definitely leave the viewer wishing he/she had the confidence to display that much fun on a daily basis.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Richard CurtisEric Fellner
- Producer(s): Richard CurtisBill Nighy (Quentin)
- Screenwriter(s): Kenneth Branagh (Sir Alistair Dormandy)Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Count)Rhys Ifans (Gavin Cavanaugh)
- Cast: Emmma E. HickoxDanny CohenMark Tildesley
- Editor(s): Joanna Johnston
- Cinematographer: Double Negative
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Lidar Services
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: UKGermany