Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Pirate Radio" (2009) - Movie Review

The 60s flashbacks are nothing but rock and roll giving birth to the concealed and suppressed painted sins of the past. The hugging of peace and arts were more than ever and it got tighter to be suffocated or that is how most of the times movies attempting to swim through that time of sex, drugs and tapes (or records). “Pirate Radio” lives through those good times in a ship running a radio having good time. The good times are so much and too boasting that it becomes a bloated self righteous gloating with convenient cruelty and happiness hiding the formula film.

Not opening with the “inspired by true story” which it is not, “Pirate Radio” is a string of the best times a crew in this ship of fictional Radio Rock rebellious transmitters. It comprises of some good actors with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and sparsely seen in American films Rhys Ifans. There are traditional characters in a fun team. A young chap aided/guided/betrayed in losing his virginity named Carl (Tom Sturridge), a big bloke having a way with the women is Dr. Dave (Nick Frost), an innocent DJ in love with the returning star Gavin (Rhys Ifans) and a rival of sort to him is The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman). They are all nice people, fun people and have the best days of their lives. Too bad we cannot share the same opinion with the film.

When the ship members are busy fornicating Saturdays and listening to awesome music, there is the villain for the film in the name of government. It is minister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) who hates the existence of this radio station defaming the traditional and clean air in the UK. There are of course loyal fans who seem to gather around and listen to radio and do nothing else. These different montages of various sections of people dedicate their life to these voices beyond the skies.

Radio has been a great instrument long before the entire collection of one’s music library got comprised in their pockets. Yet the concept did not die and has been continued with annoying commercials with inventive DJs to oomph the experience of music hearing. Personally I do not hear to the radio as I leave myself to explore the new songs and form opinions of my own. But I have always heard the glory days of radio in “those” days through my mom. When cinema songs were forbidden by her father, she managed to sneak around to hear the few songs and loved for the voices of the DJs saying in their styles and tones. “Pirate Radio” undermines that tingly feeling and begins to enjoy the celebrity status of its DJs before we understand the medium’s importance in the days of limited entertainment in Television and Radio.

Now I should not stomp the movie to the ground because the movie’s intensive part is the songs of it and they rock precisely and dig along with its viewers. But what is this movie about? There are characters who already in a state where we know what they like and dislike. They do not have much of explanation to do other than obey their roles for the definition director Richard Curtis gave. The film is not lifeless but too much of unwanted life. It firmly believes too much on its material and takes a lot of it for granted. What we get is a star whose path is not revealed and simply asks to cheer and drool for the charisma. Does not work that way in this medium and in this genre.

Many cruel instances are turned into sweetness where in it is neither funny nor super serious. There is an innocent and adorable DJ Simon (Chris O’Dowd) who worships Gavin. He is one of the loners in the deck along with Carl, the lesbian (yes indeed!) chef Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) and newsreader John (Will Adamsdale). One fine day he gets married to the gorgeous Eleonore (January Jones). Too good to be true and it shatters predictably and little mercilessly. Then there is young first love of Carl sleeping with Dave and then coming back with a simple sorry and a kiss. Everything happens so easily and conveniently.

“Pirate Radio” is a slow show and it desperately wants to find comedy and cheerfulness in every small thing. It begins to be that cheery overenthusiastic kid every one come to hate just because, well too cheery and overenthusiastic for no good reason. The thing is the kid is very happy but not the others. In that case, the problem is with the others who cannot find their passion to be happy. In “Pirate Radio”, we paid the money to forget about that kid and we see for two hours and nine minutes. Not cool.

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