The Boat That Rocked

I saw this at the cinema and loved it, so buying it on DVD was a no-brainer. The Boat  That Rocked, despite being directed by Richard Curtis of Love Actually and Notting Hill fame, is NOT a chick-flick. It’s a light, feel-good comedy which doesn’t need you to think about anything too much.

Set in Britain in 1966, The Boat That Rocked is about pirate radio. With the BBC playing just tiny amounts of rock and pop music each week, it’s only natural that there would be a rebellion. And it comes in the shape of a pirate radio station broadcasting from a boat anchored in the North Sea.  Because the boat is a certain distance away from the British shore, it’s not actually breaking any laws. And so, the DJs on board make it their job to broadcast music 24/7 to the pop-starved masses, turning them into overnight superstars.

The film begins when ‘Young Carl’ (played by the rather scrummy Tom Sturridge) is sent to live on the ship for a while, under the care of his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy). Carl’s mother hopes that, following his dismissal from school, some time on the boat will ‘straighten him out.’ Quoting Quentin – “spectacular mistake.” For Radio Rock, which is inhabited only by men (and one lesbian, who according to them, doesn’t count) is also known as the ‘boat of love.’ Amongst the drugs and rock and roll is the inevitable… sex. Every second Saturday, ladies come on board – one per DJ, and they’re spirited away to beds across the ship. Life on Radio Rock is good.

However,  as you might expect, things aren’t all plain sailing (sorry, couldn’t resist). The dullards in British Government are not impressed by Radio Rock for a multitude of reasons, and so they make it their task to shut them down. As mentioned before, the problem is they’re not actually breaking any laws. And so, the authorities change the law, making it illegal for British companies to advertise on Radio Rock – which unfortunately, is their only source of income. Quentin, though, never one to take things lying down, plays his trump card – bringing back the immensely popular DJ Gavin and solving all their monetary worries.

The story continues through the battle between Radio Rock and the government, with neither side willing to back down. What ensues is a hilarious battle of wills, lots of cool music, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and even a little romance and emotional entanglement. Basically, The Boat That Rocked has it all. It’ll appeal to anyone who has an appreciation of 60s music and a good, fun storyline. There is acting talent galore here with big stars including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Gemma Arterton, Emma Thompson and more, and yet… the shining star was Bill Nighy. His individual way of being so comical never fails to make me giggle – utterly enjoyable. Recommended.

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