Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Renegade rock DJs rule the seas in Pirate Radio

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Set in the late ’60s — “the greatest era for British rock 'n’ roll,” a pre-titles card tells us — Pirate Radio, a thin story about the renegade DJs who broadcasted music from a boat at sea, is really just an excuse to champion rock music from the era. Back then, British radio played barely an hour’s worth of rock 'n’ roll. The heroes of Radio Rock — led by hotshot American the Count (a bearded Philip Seymour Hoffman) and flashy Brit Gavin (Rhys Ifans) — right this wrong, pitting themselves against a bunch of uptight, suit-wearing boardroom fogies, fronted by a frowning Kenneth Branagh, whose pit-bull is a guy named Twatt. Pirate Radio is seen mostly through the eyes of teen Carl (Tom Sturridge), who’s kicked out of school and sent by his mom to spend some time on the floating pirate radio station with his godfather (Bill Nighy), Radio Rock’s mastermind. Even if there isn’t much to the movie (despite its two-hour-plus length), it’s hard not to cheer for these characters (loosely based on real people and played by guys who were in The Flight of the Conchords and Shaun of the Dead). It’s also loaded with classics by the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and many others. So you can’t beat the music. **1/2

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