My face could not stop smiling during this film. Focus films masterpiece titled Pirate Radio hits the audience with one piece of hilarity after another. Inspired by true event during the 1960’s in Britain, a large ‘pirate’ ship off the coast of the United Kingdom plays the heathen ‘Rock & Roll’ all day and night with an outrageous cast of DJ’s and a very angry British government. The boat population includes a young man who has been kicked out of school and sent to the ship by his mother to learn life’s lessons; a lusty late night DJ who rarely talks and oozes sexual heat; several hilarious DJ losers who create a small band of odd-balls, intellectuals and chaste individuals; a long lost god of radio who returns to the rock ‘n roll ship, his heart’s purpose; a lesbian cook only allowed on the ship due to her sexual preference; a brash American example of musical commitment; and a ragged older leader whose lanky body provides some side-splitting dancing. With DJ names such as Doctor Dave, the Count, Spike Seattle, Simple Simon, Bob the Dawn Treader, Motor Mouth of Midnight Rock, their individual personality gaffes create one audience guffaw after another.
Then there is the movie’s soundtrack!!! The Kinks, The Who, Smokey Robinson, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, David Bowie and more. A mix of songs that reminds the audience why the 1960’s exploded with electric guitars, screaming voices, songs of angst, deep moments of joy, and sexual craziness. It’s worth turning up the surround sound and singing along!
(Picture from Focus Films, Pirate Radio website.)
From the creators of Notting Hill and Love Actually, and with a group of actors that includes Philip Seymore Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy, Nike Frost, Rhys Ifans and Kenneth Branagh, how could the writer and director go wrong? If you love risky, edgy British humour full of innuendo, raucous behaviour, tea and occasional wise words, then this little known film is for you. A final quote from one of the DJ Gavin, “The thing that makes sense of this crazy world, is Rock ‘n Roll.”