Dec 172009
Authors: Laura James

Richard Curtis, the writer and director of 2003’s “Love Actually,” has created an unusual, yet hilarious high seas adventure with his new flick “Pirate Radio.”

Phillip Seymour Hoffman stars as an American DJ who lives aboard a ramshackle radio-tower-boat, the Radio Rock, where he broadcasts banned rock n’ roll music from the North Sea to the United Kingdom during the 1960s.

The film starts with the addition of a new crewmember to the boat, the nephew of the boat’s manger Quentin. Played by Bill Nighy, Quentin is happy to have his nephew aboard and promptly allows young women on the boat in the hopes of deflowering his young nephew.

Consequently, the young boy has been expelled from college, and his mother has sent him out to sea with the hope that the boy will get to know his father. The catch, however, is she doesn’t tell him who his father is.

The boat crew is a cast of several unique characters, all who DJ for the radio station that almost the entire population of the U.K. listens to illegally.

Back on shore, the British government is trying desperately to head a campaign to ban the radio pirates. The man in charge of the crusade, Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh), has employed a young protégé, Twatt, who he yells at constantly for his failed attempts to eradicate the pirates.

With cameos from January Jones of “Mad Men” and Rhys Ifans from “Notting Hill,” the movie sails through witty dialogue at a breakneck pace.

Eventually, the British government successfully finds a way to shut the pirates down, and the climax of the movie comes with the sinking of the Radio Rock into the North Sea.

The DJs are left to drown at the hand of the government. And as to not spoil the ending, only viewers know whether or not they’re rescued.

The soundtrack to this film is without a doubt a rock n’ roll treasure trove. For anyone who enjoys the music of the 60s and a good laugh, this film is definitely for you.

Movie review Laura James can be reached at

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