Feature

Pirate Radio

The plot is thin, but hits from the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Turtles, and other great British bands from the 1960s will keep the audience rocking.

Directed by Richard Curtis
(R)

**

A floating radio station defies the British government in the 1960s.

Pirate Radio may be the “coolest music video masquerading as a movie ever,” said Betsy Sharkey in the Chicago Tribune. Writer-director Richard Curtis—the “hopeless romantic” behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually—has written and directed “yet another love letter,” only this one’s dedicated to the golden era of British rock ’n’ roll. Set in 1966, when the stuffy BBC still entirely controlled Britain’s airwaves, the film follows a crew of raffish DJs, led by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “The Count,” who broadcast rock ’n’ roll from a refurbished tanker off England’s coast. Unfortunately, Pirate Radio sails by on little more than the music, said Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.com. Curtis never fully develops the plot, even though the film runs more than two hours long. He does, however, “capture the mood, and certainly the sound of the era.” From the Kinks to the Rolling Stones, the hits just keep on coming, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. It doesn’t really matter what’s happening onscreen when you can hear the Who, the Turtles, and other great British bands played one after the next. Long live rock ’n’ roll.

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