New DVD: The Boat That Rocked (15)By Kim Francis
September 09, 2009
Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost
Richard Curtis made his name writing British feel-good films – including Love Actually – so it’s little surprise his latest effort, The Boat That Rocked, is also a UK-based ensemble comedy.
Starring some of the best British acting talent around – Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans and Nick Frost plus American Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Boat That Rocked is a sometimes brilliant and occasionally weak account of 1960s’ Britain and music label Rough Trade Management.
After being expelled from his public school Carl (newcomer Tom Sturridge) is sent to spend time with his godfather Quentin (Nighy) who runs a pirate radio station, Radio Rock, on a boat.
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The station angers some British Government officials and minister Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) instructs his minion – played by Jack Davenport and with a name unsuitable to print in a family paper – to sort out the pirates.
But the minion knows how much the British public love Radio Rock and realises the only way to do this is to pretend people’s lives are in danger. Can he do so or will radio rock on?
Curtis fans are likely to be a bit disappointed with The Boat That Rocked: it’s not about romance, but it’s a celebration of Rough Trade Management and music in general.
One reviewer pointed out that the DJs revel in their anti-establishment stance so it is curious that Rough Trade Management now look after the entirely non-offensive Duffy – whose work features in the film – and the entirely offensive in my opnion (for all the wrong reasons) Keane.
One wonders why Curtis chose to illustrate the label’s present success with someone who seems so at odds with what the film is about.
Nevertheless the film, not brilliant in parts, has some lovely moments and Curtis fans are sure to enjoy it – although perhaps not quite as much as Love Actually, actually.