Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Boat That Rocked: when we were young


Some of us remember when rock was young. It is impossible to convey what it was like to be 18 years old in 1966. The Boat That Rocked goes a long way towards realising that. Life on board Radio Rock is a fictionalised version of the pirate radio stations that broadcast from ships in the North Sea to a British public thirsty for more rock n roll during the mid 60s.

It's fantasy not history, remembering a world where uttering the f-word on radio was a crime and novels were banned. Elections were fought over the Vietnam War.

Young Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent by his mother Charlotte (Emma Thompson) to join the ship's DJ crew after being expelled from school. This floating microcosm of sex, drugs and rock is hardly the place for a new leaf. It is the era of free love. But as Carl soon discovers, sex might have been free but it wasn't frequent for many aspiring Don Juans.

The movie is clich├ęd and predictable but this is more than made up for by its immense energy, its collection of eccentric characters and the great sound track. Can't wait to get the CD.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Count continues to amaze with his versatility as an actor. Bill Nighy is hard to fault but that's to be expected as he's typecast in the role of captain Quentin. After their success in Love Actually Director Richard Curtis obviously enjoys working with him.

The movie is very well cast. It's hard to fault their performances. Katherine Parkinson plays Felicity the only woman permanently on board with her usual zany style. Kenneth Branagh is also typecast as government Minister Dormandy but not so successfully.

The Boat That Rocked is just really good fun which should ensure a good box office in the current climate of gloom.

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