Saturday, November 28, 2009
The year is 1966 and rock and roll is banned from British radio. Pirate stations take to the high seas to broadcast without government approval. This sets the stage for Pirate Radio. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Nick Frost, and Rhys Ifans. January Jones (of Mad Men fame) has a small cameo that doesn't seem worth her time (or ours). Pirate Radio could have been a dramatic retelling of rock rebellion but instead plays it light and fast in an enjoyable romp with a great soundtrack.
Mr. Branagh is over the top conservative as the uptight government official trying to shut them down. His scene at the family Christmas dinner is priceless. Mr. Hoffman plays "The Count", an American DJ and defacto leader of the radio rebels. This is rare chance to see him obviously having a good time in a fun role. Each of the other DJ's are played by well known British actors and each is a character unto themselves.
The film is nothing more than a series of vignettes about the various characters juxtaposed by the efforts of the government to ban them from the airwaves. The soundtrack is classic '60's rock and roll ( and I won't quibble if some of the songs played were post 1966).
A fun time is had by all.