The Boat that Rocked...The Boat

The Boat that Rocked


Review by Chrissy Finnie

Bang a gong, get it on! FINALLY somebody has been inspired to make a film about Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station that brought pop and rock music to Britain. Although ‘The Boat that Rocked’ is not factually accurate and is tarted up by a purple, velvet hat with a feather on top still grabs the idea of 60s liberation and the era that brought us rock and roll. Directed by Richard Curtis who brought us great British films such as Nottinghill, Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral, the film is based on a true story of rogue DJs who found a legal loophole to broadcast pop and rock to 25million people across the U.K (around half the population at the time) from a ship anchored in the North Sea. The Boat that Rocked is set to become the guru of feel good films for 2009. Has Curtis failed yet?

Curtis: “This is a film about the thing I really care about, pop music. I remember when I was a boy I held my pillow under my bed at night listening to Radio Caroline. I used to hide in rehearsal rooms in church and listen to the top 40!”

In 1966 there were only 2 hours of pop and rock music played a day, but dangerous DJs took on the government and pirated the music that defined their generation. Of course Curtis needed a love story tangled in, he is renowned for such a thing, ‘actually’, but the love this time is between 60s rebellion for music and Britain fighting to be together. The station was barley legal, but the government tackles a way to put an end to the madness and make pirate radio illegal with the by passing the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act which made it an offence to advertise or supply an offshore radio station from the UK. No life but the rock n’ roll life, the DJs set sail to broadcast illegally to the people of Britain, only to hit a rock while the rock is still playing. The men still broadcast as the ship does a Titanic and distress calls are made. Standing on the tip, fags hanging loose, a fleet of British rebels and Radio Caroline listeners come to the rescue of the heroes.

The cast is outstanding with new and familiar faces like Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rhys Ivans (Notting Hill), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), also Tom Sturridge, Jack Davenport, Ralph Brown, Chris O'Dowd and January Jones. There is even a cameo appearance from award winning actress, Emma Thomson. Curtis has stopped working with Hugh Grant, “as he became richer he became more depressed.”

The film is a fantastic comedy and Curtis has punctuated a laugh at every possible opportunity. This is the tale of sex, drugs and rock and roll, the biography.


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