The Boat that Rocked (15)
THERE are only two films being talked about this week, and ensemble comedy, THE BOAT THAT ROCKED (15) is the first. From the pen of Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Four Weddings...,Notting Hill and Love Actually), it is set on a pirate radio boat in the 1960s
THERE are only two films being talked about this week, and ensemble comedy, THE BOAT THAT ROCKED (15) is the first.
From the pen of Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Four Weddings...,Notting Hill and Love Actually), it is set on a pirate radio boat in the 1960s.
It starts promisingly, underlining the romance between the young people and the pop music of the '60s.
A band of DJs captivate Britain, playing the music that defines a generation and standing up to a government that wants to stop them.
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In 1966 - British pop music's finest era with the Beatles, the Stones, The Kinks and all those Merseybeat bands churning out one classic after another - the BBC played just two hours of rock and roll every week.
Pirate radio played rock and pop from the high seas 24 hours a day. And 25 million people, more than half the population of Britain, listened to them every day.
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Curtis says: "Every person in my generation has the same memory. You would go to bed at night and put your transistor radio underneath your pillow, switch it on and hear this fantastic music you could not hear elsewhere. And your parents would shout from downstairs, 'Go to bed! Turn off the light; go to sleep!'
"It was one of the things that made me love pop music most, that slight sense of it being illicit and illegal."
But instead of taking this opportunity to pay homage, to focus on the music, the reason for pirate radio and the government's efforts to close them down, we have Curtis' usual hit-and-miss frothy romantic comedy which could have been set anywhere.
There are some genuine laugh-out-loud scenes, but the film loses its way in the middle and the final scenes, where the boat sinks, drag out far too long.
Romford-born Nick Frost and American Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman join Bill Nighy (doing his ageing hippy thing to perfection), Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Davenport, Emma Thompson, Chris O'Dowd and Gemma Arterton.
- LINDSAY JONES