Pirate Radio aka The Boat that Rocked is a very, very funny movie with a kick ass soundtrack. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed the music in a film as much. And the cast — this is ensemble acting at its best, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, (Emma Thompson and January Jones in cameos) and lots of other people who should be a lot better known than they are.
Even though it is a fictional account, the story of a pirate radio station on a boat off the coast of England in the 60s is based in fact. The British government was not allowing rock and roll on its BBC stations, so some intrepid DJs took to the seas, international waters and such, and illegally broadcast their evil rock to a very receptive audience. But the government put a stop to it with something called Marine Broadcasting Offences Act. This is only the back story to a buddy movie steeped in the best of the 60s rock and roll. The Stones, Cat Stevens, The Who, Cream, Jimmy Hendricks, even Procol Harum, all act as background and even commentary to the story of a boatload of men (plus one lesbian) who defy the government, especially one unctuous official played with evil glee by Kenneth Branagh, all for the love of rock and roll.
Directed and written by Richard Curtis who also brought us Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones, Pirate Radio takes us aboard this rogue ship and lets us live with this loony lot for a time, though it is hard to describe what “happens” in the movie. They DJ, invite hot women on board, challenge one another with various silly games, and generally have a rockin’ great time. And meanwhile back on dry land, the government guys work feverishly to shut them down. But like any well written script, characters come through, and you really grow to like these guys.
I think this would be a great date movie though I am not sure if the music would appeal to people in their 20s half as much as it did to this chick, but the male bonding and the hot chicks in miniskirts would have to be a draw for the roosters. And for the young chicks, there are some very cute guys, too. To me it was a great couple of hours. And I am definitely buying this soundtrack.