Pirate Radio
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(3 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
R (for language and some sexual content including brief nudity)
Genre
Directed By
Richard Curtis
Run Time
1 hour 57 minutes
Cast
Michael Hadley, Charlie Rowe, Lucy Fleming, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Theatre Release
November 13, 2009 by Universal Pictures

If I were ever asked to make a list of my top five recordings of the classic rock era, I think The Who Sell Out would be a top contender. Released in 1967, the album is mostly an homage—and perhaps a bit of a parody—of the pirate radio stations that broadcast the hottest rock 'n' roll to a voracious, largely teenage audience. At that time, the BBC refused to play more than a half hour of popular music per day, and when the bureaucrats began campaigning to rid the airwaves of "immoral" music, a bunch of roguish DJs took to the seas and piped rock to the mainland from their bulky floating transmitters. It's this cheerfully renegade spirit that The Who Sell Out captures so well; smashing rock numbers are piled on one after another, linked by fake commercials and made-up jingles (at times, it's hard to tell where the songs end and the adverts begin) and united by a merrily impish sense of humor.

Richard Curtis' film Pirate Radio is set in 1966, just a year before that Who classic, and it captures much the same spirit. The movie is based on one of the actual pirate radio stations, and that odd period of rock history more generally; the vast majority of it takes place on the boat, the large cast of characters is primarily made up of DJs, and the film itself has a gloriously ramshackle feel to it. It's stuffed almost to overflowing with sly humor, a bit of bawdiness, a winning batch of characters, and of course, lots of rock 'n' roll.

And—crucially, perhaps—it is at once a tribute and a commentary. Curtis doesn't mind picking sides—the film is very much a celebration of the free-spiritedness of the cheery pranksters who rock the boat, while the government censors are stiff, unhip, and totally unlikable—but ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These Next
Current IssueJen Pollock Michel: God Is a Homemaker Who Does ‘Women’s Work’
Jen Pollock Michel: God Is a Homemaker Who Does ‘Women’s Work’ Subscriber Access Only
And other thoughts on the biblical and theological significance of home.
Current IssueHow to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian
How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian Subscriber Access Only
No teasing, no favorites, and hours and hours of time with one other.
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Pirate Radio
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.