Posted by: Dr P | April 2, 2009

The Boat That Rocked

Loosely based on the pirate radio operations of the 1960s, “The Boat That Rocked” follows the fortunes of North-Sea based Radio Rock and its host of weird and wonderful DJs and surrounding characters. Government factions, brilliantly led by the tighter-than-a-rock-star’s-zebra-print-leggings Kenneth Branagh, are desperate to end the pirate stations and their debauched ideals of free love and modern music, while the station is desperate to bring the era of rock and roll to the public.

Into the midst of this non-stop party lifestyle comes Carl, recently expelled from public school, and sent by his mother to live with her friend, Quentin, the owner of Radio Rock. If there’s ever a place to learn sobriety and repentence, this isn’t it. The boat’s inhabitants are a wild bunch. Led by “The Count” (my fave actor Philip Seymour Hoffman at his best), the DJs run riot over the airwaves – there’s sexual dynamo Dave (played with some relish by Nick Frost – and why wouldn’t he, he goes from being Simon Pegg’s usual fat sidekick to sleeping with Gemma Arterton!), the reclusive Bob, genuine girl magnet Mark, and the fabulous Gavin, played by Rhys Ifans.

With a soundtrack to die for, this movie portrays the 60s as a swinging, hip time, where government oppression is starting to be drowned out by free love and rock and roll, and the country seems all the better for it. The characters have great appeal – not just for their free-spirited ways, but because they understand life, music, love and how to enjoy themselves despite imminent shutdown from the government. The conflicts onboard ship are just as well realised as that between the station and the government, with The Count and Gavin vying for supremacy among the DJs. Meanwhile, who is Bob, and just why has Carl been sent to this hothouse of love and debauchery in the first place?

if this movie doesn’t put a big smile on your face, nothing will. It’s pure indulgence from the start to the gripping finish, and you will care for the characters in a big way. We loved it!

The journey back also provided some light relief as we passed our usual favourite sight – a corner house advertising “J M Decorators – no job too small” – if you fancy calling them on 01204 307745 and asking them to pop over and pick up your remote control, or perhaps turn over the toast on your grill, I’m sure they’d oblige …

Memorable moments:

“no one likes your hair, not even blind people, and even they can sense its ugliness as it passes”

Minister Dormandy: [referring to Radio Rock] We have their testicles in our hands, Twatt, and it feels good


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