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The Boat that Rocked (Pirate Radio)

Film Two Stars
I have to admit that The Boat that Rocked is one of those films that came out and had little effect on me. There was an interesting cast, proven film-makers with the Working Title team and Richard Curtis, but the idea at the core of the film didn't fire me up.

That idea was about a pirate radio station off the coast of Britain broadcasting rock and roll to a nation that was loving it while the government tried to ban it. All the while there was music and fun.

No it didn't really appeal at the time. Now I've seen it I do think it's better than the original blurb made out, but it still falls somewhat short of the Working Title successes.

Plot.pngTheBoatThatRocked.jpgI think I already managed to tell you the plot. A pirate radio station off the coast of the UK, one of many, is deliberately targeted by the government during it's move to shut them all down. The government initiative is led by a senior member, played by Kenneth Branagh, and his cohort, played by Jack Davenport, when they utter profanities on air and see the return of one of their most successful DJ's ever, Cavanah played by Rhys Ifans.

At the same time the naive nephew of the boat and radio station owner, played by Bill Nighy, comes aboard to hide away from his domineering mother and find something more for his life.

Meanwhile the other DJ's, including one played by Nick Frost, are having a wild time. That is except for the Count, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is feeling the potential rivalry from Cavanagh as soon as his return is announced.

TheFilm.pngThe film opens with a feeling very much like Love Actually, except we get subtitles without the Hugh Grant voice over. The bookends of the film feel very much like that, during the film though, it's quite a bit different.

Where Love Actually really succeeded was the combining of such heartfelt and emotional stories with real life humour. Just like life the identifiable characters were coming across some very real life situations, behaving just as we would, and the film really brought that home personally to the audience.

With The Boat that Rocked those same feelings are missing for a number of reasons. For a start these characters and their situations are not anywhere near real life, the only character close to reality is the nephew, and the audience can't really connect with personally, and even then his character, like so all the others in the film, is so shallowly created he's not identifiable with. Finally the story itself lacks the depth and the drama to really connect and make an impact with anyone.

So although there are some identifiable features with Love Actually that top and tail the film, overall it just doesn't match.

The biggest failing of the film for me was the fact that I didn't connect with any of the characters or care for any of them, and that is because they don't feel like they are given any depth other than their clothes and style to identify them from others. Look, this is the Count, he's American and wears casual clothes smoking a lot, here's the DJ who does the night shift, he wears dark clothes and never speaks, here's the...you get the idea. We get these characters fleshed out enough to identify them visually and give them a trait that's different from everyone else's and then we're thrown straight into the events of the story.

I think perhaps this comes from the fact that the film feels rather sharply edited going from event to reactions, and onto the next event and reactions without much breathing space for character development. Yet it's with this development that the characters would be allowed to become more realistic and help the audience identify with the film more.

These leaps from event to repercussion seemed to happen even if there was a big leap in time or in character development, almost ignoring these aspects in order to get to the moment to tie in with the previous event. It just seems hurried and rushed to get the stories moving.

Not only did it leap forward with the main story, but there were a number of stories going on around it in a similar style. There was the son and his father, the two lead DJ's battling for the top place, the nephew falling for a woman, and a fair bit more. Yet none of these are given the depth or drama that you might think they deserve. The biggest example of this was the story line of the nephew trying to find his father, it was incredibly shallow and unsatisfying, merely presenting a few things that happen and never really having a decent conclusion, just the "oh look, here's your father", "oh, okay then", and it's about that sudden too.

Without the drama and the emotional involvement in any of the characters these stories are just so flat and uninteresting and just breeze by. What the film then ended up feeling like was more a showcase of fun moments and favourite music tracks. Even with the talents of Hoffman, Nighy, Frost, Branagh, etc.

Picture.pngApple iTouch widescreen
Once again the iTouch gave a strong picture, and there was no sign of detail loss even in the action sections of the film at the end of the film, and with the lower light aboard the boat it looks great.

Audio.pngStereo, Apple iTouch with Sony embedded earphones
The sound is good, although there was nothing to take away the fact that it was in stereo. Nothing negative about that, since it is on stereo, but I've heard a few previous audio tracks for film and television shows that have given you the feeling of space and depth.

Overall.pngThe Boat That Rocked has some fun moments and ideas to it, but there's just no emotional attachment and no depth to the characters or the situations. It's definitely not on a par with other Richard Curtis films. That said there are some nice moments, some good laughs, and some great music, all with some nice editing and cinematography. It's just that the story isn't there to keep up.

Buy from iTunes
Buy or Rent from Lovefilm
UK IMDB Film Details
Buy the film and soundtrack from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com



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