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The Boat That Rocked [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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Richard Curtis writes and directs this ensemble comedy set in the world of the pop music and pirate radio stations of 1960s Britain. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as The Count, a larger-than-life American rock 'n' roll DJ who - along with fellow broadcasters Dave (Nick Frost), Simon (Chris O'Dowd), Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom), Wee Small Hours Bob (Ralph Brown), Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke), On-The-Hour John (Will Adamsdale), Angus 'The Nut' Nutsford (Rhys Darby) and Gavin (Rhys Ifans) - takes the airwaves by storm via Radio Rock, a pirate radio station operating from a boat in the middle of the stormy North Sea in order to escape the confines of stuffy British law. Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh co-star.
Richard Curtis turned his talents to telling the story of 1960s pirate radio with The Boat That Rocked. And while the film may not have scaled either the commercial or critical heights of some of his earlier work, there are still plenty of reasons to commend the film.
Chief among them is the excellent cast. The Boat That Rocked brings together a welcome collection of British talent, including Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Gemma Arterton, and then they’re joined by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Between them, they effectively recall the Radio Caroline story, as a pirate radio station is set up on a North Sea cruising yacht, broadcasting to England. Said broadcasts become wildly popular, making celebrities out of some of those concerned. Yet naturally enough, the authorities, led by Branagh’s Sir Alistair Dormandy, aren’t best pleased.
Curtis then laces The Boat That Rocked with plenty of comedy, and a killer soundtrack. But he loses his focus when editing the film down, as it’s a movie that, try as it might, still manages to outstay its welcome by a good 20 minutes. It doesn’t help that he’s simply trying to cram too much in here, and contrasted with the tight screenplays of some of his earlier films (take the script of Notting Hill as an example), it’s curious that he chooses to do so.
Yet quibbles aside, The Boat That Rocked is still a fine comedy, with a real love for its subject matter. It arguably works best in the home, too, over the big screen, and with many laugh-out-loud moments, and some memorable characters, it’s ultimately hard to resist the film’s many charms. --Jon FosterSee all Product Description
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However, there are several flaws with it. The story is anaemic to the point of almost being nonexistent. Essentially the radio station is threatened with closure and that is it. The balance of japes also drifts too far into the adult humour that means a huge proportion of the potential audience is lost. I also felt that the different segments of the film felt very disjointed as if it was a series of sketches for a sit-com rather than a complete whole. It would not surprise me if the film was originally designed to be a set of 6 half hour TV episodes.
In terms of direction Curtis does a decent job making the confined set of a ship entertaining, without ever threatening the genius of someone like Wes Anderson or Wolfgang Petersen. The BluRay looks nice, but is probably uncalled for as the DVD would suffice. In terms of extras the 45 minutes of deleted scenes are a must see. They are introduced by Curtis and he explains that they could have been in the movie, but they were easy to cut as they were self contained and did not move the `story' on. I would have preferred a lot more of these segments in the film that upped the comedy and just have a fleeting reference to the `plot' at the end.
Richard Curtis follows a similar format to his superb `Love Actually', with the film following the stories of a series of disparate characters. And herein lies the main problem of the film. None of the characters are really likeable, and none of the story lines are particularly strong, so there is nothing to really draw the viewer in. We are left with a series of scenes of people we don't particularly care for in situations and getting up to antics that are all, frankly, embarrassing to watch. And finally none of it ties together nicely. The film cannot decide what it is trying to be, social history, comedy or twee romance, and in the end fails to be anything much.
That's not to say there are no good points - the cast are excellent and do their best with the material given to them, especially the ever reliable Kenneth Brannagh and Bill Nighy. Occasionally the script manages to shine and there are a few genuine laughs and moving scenes. But not really enough to carry it and lift it to the heights that the hype promised.
The real plus side is the excellent soundtrack, but let's be honest with the classic material available for putting a soundtrack together it was guaranteed to be excellent.
All in all two stars.
As a dramatised history of Pirate Radio this is superb, the characters are all to various degrees, 'Mad,Bad,and dangerous to know,' but given the opportunity wouldnt you want to be part of that scene?
The sound track is brilliant, and offered up some lovely unknown tracks which added to the enjoyment.
Bill Nighy turns in a cracking performance and the Count was probably the best of a brilliant cast. Kenneth Branagh was suitably poisonous and must have enjoyed doing this role.
I also saw him in the role of Heydrich in the HBO film,Conspiracy, and comparing him in both films, Im not sure if he was nastier as the deputy commander of the SS in Conspiracy or as a Government minister in The Boat that rocked.
All in all well worth watching, but leave it just as it is, dont make a sequel as what would be the point, this has it all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Buy the DVD not the instant version, the instant version has so many scenes cut (stag scene etc)Published 10 days ago by Miss Reynolds
A superb Historical Film of how music dominated our times in such a brilliant way.Published 16 days ago by Glen Mitchell
Great film but the version we saw was 'pirate radio' the american version and one or two scenes seemed to have been cut. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rebecca Banbury