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In a 60s party mood - no more.. but no less, either
steinerelt8 August 2009
Although the film received its fair share of criticism for its historical inaccuracies and feeble plot, in my view, the film does exactly what its authors set out to achieve and - not only in terms of the soundtrack - rock it really does.

If you're looking for an evening of pure escapist fun, feeling generally nostalgic and cool about the legacy of the 60s fashion and music, and would like to forget history for a while and go with the party mood, go see this film - you won't be let down and you'll get what you're looking for: an amazing soundtrack (although, as many didn't hesitate to point out, not entirely historically accurate), with the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield, The Hollies, Jimmy Hendrix, Buddy Holly, and many many more, with the charismatic Bill Nighy and a bunch of other not-quite-so-ordinary eccentric characters, more or less familiar to you, depending on how you enjoy British (and American) comedy (e.g. IT Crowd). Even if you don't know the actors, even if you're not into the music of the 60s, you've got pure feel-good fun thrown in to top it off for a great evening of the 60s Rock'n'Roll partying. And it's partying in the true 60s sense of the word.

On the other hand, if you're looking for profound plot development, historical accuracy and consistency, or a true story of a real pirate radio station Caroline that inspired the story, or, in fact, would like to see a true depiction of the life in the UK in 1966, do NOT go see this film, because you might leave disappointed.

It's as simple as that.

So, a definite recommendation for cinema viewing because of the necessary volume that the speakers allow you there to enjoy the music to the fullest (and, let me say one more time what music it is!), but stay out if you're not in a party mood.

I give it 8/10 for the feel-good, cool entertainment it brings and.... well, for the Rock'n'Roll.

Have fun!
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Right Fun Time
mzmorpheus0924 August 2009
What a cute flick! As a (former) film reviewer I have absolutely no desire to dissect or critique this movie. I'm just taking it at face value. It's fun, uplifting and witty. It's obvious the cast had a hell of a good time making it (even the 'bad' guys). Hoffman and Nighey are in top form. The gags are good, even when they tank. And the ending gave a surprising increase in the tension/suspense.

Really can't find anything terribly wrong with this aside from the mild sexism but it's so subtle, I hardly noticed.

I've been going through a really rough time personally and watching this cheered me. What more could you hope for?
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the film that rocked
big_bea16 April 2009
I have been wanting to see this movie since I saw the trailer for the very first time. Today I finally got the opportunity. The plot sounded interesting and I was hoping to see a comedy that wasn't as predictable and forced romantic as a lot of comedies are. I wasn't disappointed. Sure, this isn't the most profound story ever told, but I wanted to have fun, and this movie definitely gave it to me. Another bonus is the great soundtrack, which carries the whole movie. After leaving the cinema you will want to listen to the songs featured in this film, just so you can enjoy the feeling of it a little longer. This film is funny from the beginning to the end, and there were moments when I couldn't stop laughing. If you want to see a feel-good movie with a plot that was, at least as far as I know, not used before, than this is the right film for you.
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mamamimi12 August 2009
I saw it twice on my overseas trip to Egypt and twice on my way back and loved every minute of it. I mimed the songs (passengers on the plane would not have appreciated me belting out Rolling Stones and Donovan:)) and danced on my seat all the way. Philip Seymor Hoffman was a delight and quite a fantastic actor and he really had tough competition since the whole cast was exceptional. Rhys Ifans is a far cry from the skinny weirdo on Notting Hill. Bill Nighy was a bit similar to his Love Actually role, still a favorite of mine. Emma Thompson was on for a few minutes, but you cannot imagine anyone else in that role. And, you can hardly recognize Kenneth Branagh! A must see movie for young and old, especially old because it will make them feel young again. I am 57 today!!
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Great Movie! One of the best in years
zenrunar19 August 2009
This is the Film of the year! No specials effects and CG and just a nice vibe to it. I found this film to be profoundly good. MUCH, MUCH better than I ever expected. Hoffman always delivers and with great UK talent. I was truly dumbfounded. Writing is good, plot is solid, Acting is fantastic, story line is great and the best movie score/soundtrack I have heard in recent history. It is fairly long but goes well with a cold one on a weekend. I hope it gets huge distribution in the US! It's a fun,uplifting, feel-good, strange and yet inspiring film. To be based on a true story and deliver this is impressive. I will tell everybody about this one. Watch it.
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A good-humoured and moving British comedy as a tribute to pop-rock
yris200218 June 2009
If you think of "Four weddings and a Funeral" or "Notting Hill", you will be a little disappointed, being here the overall tone not so brilliant, dialogues not so sparkling, however, the both humorous and moving atmosphere of Richard Curtis's comedies is still recognizable.

I think the real protagonist in "The boat that rocked" is music, that sound pop-rock that in the 60's began to move the world, and to be opposed by the establishment as a dangerous weapon in the hands of the multitudes, as a threat to a well consolidated but no longer valid system. Among unreal situations, a totally-lacking plot, among odd and eccentric characters, what only matters is that power of music to revive one's spirits, to give voice to the most uncontrolled, animal, ancestral instincts of man. And thus becomes, in my opinion, the most vivid scene that of those hundreds of records floating on the water, the symbol of a generation, of an era that was then ready to explode, and that no strict establishment could have wiped away, even once illegal radio stations were shut down.

No revolutionary message is conveyed: it's a good-humoured and at intervals melancholic tribute to a generation who, maybe ingenuously, but deeply, and truly believed in out of time-values, friendship, respect, love, and believed that music was a strong, and powerfully effective means to convey them. Even if you don't belong to that generation, each of us has experienced, one or more times in one's life, the communion of a piece of music with the most sensitive chords of our soul: it's about something emotional, but also physical and that's what the director just wants to celebrate.

If you are fond of music, or simply you have once in your life been moved by a song, you will like this movie, or at least enjoy it for what it is, without the necessity of too much criticism.
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Good, honest fun.
Baldrick4414 April 2009
Richard Curtis' first 'non romantic comedy film' is really another romantic comedy film- it's just that the romantic bit gets swamped within 20 other sub-plots so you try and not notice.

The Boat That Rocked sees Carl ( Tom Surridge ) go aboard Radio Rock- a pirate radio station owned by Quentin ( Bill Nighy ) whose DJ's (Phillip Semour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Chris O' Dowd, Rhys Darby, etc. ) broadcast 24-hour rock and roll music to the UK. They are adored by the populace but hated by the government, including the Minister of Communications ( Kenneth Branagh ) and his chief subordinate ( Jack Davenport ) who aim to shut them down.

If that was the extent of the plot then it would probably be a 100 mins film. However the Boat That Rocked has so many little sub-plots- many seeming like excuses to put in another montage or cameo cast appearance that the time has ballooned out to 154mins and it does tell at times. Furthermore, while Richard Curtis is entitled to look back on these days with an air of nostalgia, he sometimes seems to get a little too weepy eyed with the story.

But these faults are more than made up for in the performances; all of which are good- and some are outstanding. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Count is a lovable character who approaches everything with great gusto, while Chris O' Dowd's Simple Simon has a wonderful part in the middle section of the movie which brings a little bit of emotion to what is a pretty emotionally vacant movie. Nick Frost is cheeky as Dr Dave and finally Rhys Darby- fresh from Flight of the Conchords- simply shines in his role as the unpopular and daggy Angus who nonetheless gets arguably the best line in the whole movie.

Overall the Boat That Rocked is silly and entertaining fun. It does get overweight by a looong script, but the soundtrack and the cast are good enough to carry it through.
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A film that rocks
Gordon-117 August 2009
This film is about a pirate rock radio station in British North Sea in the 1960's.

I have watched several movies about British music history, and I have enjoyed none of them. So it was a pleasant surprise when I watched "The Boat That Rocked", as I find it very enjoyable.

The plot emphasises on the the character's interpersonal dynamics, their passion for music and their strive to rebel. It is a well written and well told story. Character development is excellent, each of them have different charisma and charm. They engage me throughout to the point that I feel what the characters feel. The film is very good, you have to see it to believe it.
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A smart and witty story about love and friendship ON A BOAT!
cypheristikal14 August 2009
Dude, I went into this only caring that it was starring Philip Seymour (?) Hoffman, and pretty much had little expectations as long as the movie was entertaining- well it was. The very well-scripted (all-star casted) characters created as organic a cast performance as I can remember seeing since Milk. The story of pirate radio leaves its foamtrail through the leaders of p2p filesharing and their unwavering declaration that art should be enjoyed by all, not only the few who are able to pay more than a meal's worth to be able to purchase a copy of the product, pre-packaged by an Industry that is certainly not furthering music as an artform. Getting back to the movie. This roll of film has put it together in a way that's only really reserved for (good) Academy Award winning pictures, but it doesn't get all Curious Case of Benjamin Button on you. The superb cast of actors all deliver quite genuine performances, even though it takes some growing into (like the movie) but there's enough sarcastic profanity that doesn't push it over the comfort zone. The tale of Radio Rock and its crew is one that transcends personality and nationality. Lots of sex and friendship and love, this movie is the antithesis of the consumeristic slavery of our civilization and is a (loose) guide to what we should all strive for in life. The Hitler-like English committeeman in charge with taking care of the Radio Pirates is an unabashedly serious caricature of government-led regulators holding the link between revenue generating industries and the voices of progress, each always trying to tip the balance in their favor. The plot gracefully glides into its climax and with no extended cuddling it exits leaving us a nice retrospective of the experience. For the patient and passionate viewer, this film is highly recommended.

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A simple "feel good" movie
birkir1626 August 2009
I'm going to keep this short. Watched it, loved it.

It's a simple, "feel good" movie with the greatest music of the 60's and 70's that will make you smile. Sure it's not realistic when it comes to peoples communications and reactions to certain incidents but thats the charm of it. It even has a little twist of drama but not enough to ruin the comedy.

It was amazing to me how the soundtrack just managed to get better and better, endless amount of rock/pop singles, thoughts like "aaaa i love that song" and " ohh man i had forgotten that one" often occurred to me.

I thought the characters and the actors were great although some of the characters we're a bit useless i liked them after i was about 20 min into the film.

I think we could use some pirate rock stations where i live, stations that will play and say what ever they please.

Final words. A movie witch is fun to watch.
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The first all-subplot movie!
jan-60314 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Think it's impossible to make a film with only subplots? Well, watch this one! The main story is so poorly written, edited and directed, and takes up so little relative time on the screen, that (as the writer/director Richard Curtis admits in his intro to the deleted scenes) most of the scenes could have been replaced by the ones on the cutting room floor. Instead of a few minor subplots as in most films, minor scenes take up nearly all the film's running time. How on earth can you end a film like that? Easy - just copy the end of Titanic! What a waste of an interesting true story and some fine actors, who do the best they can with this mess.
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The Rocking Of Opportunism
janemullinsuk13 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Trying to satisfy the most ends up, as is usually the case, not satisfying anyone. The blatant attempt to be cute turns out out to be rather nauseating. Not a single moment of truth, not a single moment of beauty. It is quite simply atrocious. It also felt endless and I'm not giving it a 1 because there are some spot on musical moments within the otherwise opportunistic score. I like(d) Richard Curtis but he is taking his formula of odd ball characters to a place where no human being (the thinking kind) ever ventures. A French farce with typically scatological British touches. And Philip Seymour Hoffman? What's with this guy? Very good actor but his dishevelment is starting to get on my nerves. Even as Truman Capote I felt he needed a shower. Emma Thompson has a grand cameo but, quite frankly, it belonged to a completely different film. None of it ringed true and if I sound angry it may be because I am. I left my house, I drove under the rain, had to park, paid outrageous fees for parking, tickets, a drink and then I had to sit through this mess of a thing. There is a moment on the last third when the characters, hit by a Titanic style emergency, have to transmit their boat's location and you wait with unbearable impatience for the inevitable crowd of boats coming to their rescue. Oh dear, Oh dear. Kenneth Brannagh comes to elevate, slightly, the boring proceedings with a fine tuned cartoonish villain. Lost at sea, that's how I felt and as you may very well imagine, I didn't like it one bit.
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Deeply Disappointing Disjointed Drivel
gary-44411 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to enjoy this.I used to listen to Radio Caroline, I love the music of the era and am a huge fan of Richard Curtis's work - a sure fire combination.But it was not, and I was left reflecting on this "Deeply Disappointing Disjointed Drivel".The music is wonderful.

Curtis is a fine writer, but an undisciplined one, and a strong Director would have tightened up this ship no end.For a film with a plot that comprises: DJ's on a Pirate radio ship, government tries half heartedly to close them down, greenhorn discovers his long lost father is on ship, ship sinks, the 2hour 10 minute running time is inexcusable.

I did not laugh once.The comic situations offer pallid echoes of Curtis's best work.Tom Sturridge plays a young ill at ease fop in a sub Hugh Grant role,a bumbling Government underling is named Twatt, a poor imitation of the "Darling" device in Blackadder as is Thick Kevin a poor imitation of Baldrick from the same series.

A strong ensemble cast offer little warmth and drift in and out like the Pirate Radio signal itself used to.The last 20 minutes is bizarrely cranked up to offer an ending synthesising the likes of "Titanic", "The Poseidon Adventure" and "Das Boot" making the whole enterprise even more risible.

The Boat rocked - the plot and script sank.
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Very funny and clever
codseyes8 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The best feel-good-factor film I've seen since Little Miss Sunshine. In 1967 I won a transistor radio and spent the next ten years listening to Radio Caroline (at night under the pillow, so the early scene is uncanny!!) The film is a clever amalgam of pirate radio fact and myth featuring barely disguised DJs, and cameo scenes from album covers, fashion shoots, etc.. (orgy in the hold = Electric Ladyland; girls arriving on the prow of the boat = Mary Quant...; poster scenes = Abbey Road..., etc.) Anyone's guess if the station/boat owner is based on Ronan O'Rahilly. The kind of guy who, 20 years later might have founded a low-cost airline; The Marine Offences Act was a heinous offense against liberty and popular culture, worthy of the cold war opponents.

Beautifully filmed, a bit like smoking grass while listening to CSNY.
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It Rocked Indeed.
xtreme-edgez24 August 2009
I have to say, that this is by far the most inspirational film I've seen to date. To feel the emotion, to care about the cause, to loath the oppression. Just the idea, that few can make a difference in this dark, depressing situation. it gives hope, it gives emotion, it gives life, but only if you can truly see it for what it is. It was an incredible tale, with many aspects of human flaws, and human greatness. We all have to believe we can make a difference, rather then blindly ignore the real problems. But if ignorance is your bliss, then sadly evolution as individual, is not.

Music is Love, Peace.
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The great soundtrack cannot rescue this film
johnmcc15014 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The basic premise is that if you can pick music from nine years in the most productive periods in popular music, you should have a great basis for a film. Sure enough the tracks were well chosen in general, even though only snatches were heard of some. (The soundtrack CD has some eccentric choices such as Crimson & Clover by Tommy James rather than Mony Mony, but I can't remember this in the film anyway.)

After its well-loved soundtrack, I am struggling to think of something good to say about this film. It has Richard Curtis's standard themes of: each person has someone out there with whom to fall instantly in love; and that a four-letter word will always cause a laugh, but sadly, there are few other comedic moments.

What is worse is that the characters are barely developed and so you never identify with anyone. Instead I got the impression that writers had several half-baked ideas, but no one ever got round to picking just one or two. For example, after the son discovers his father, they just look a bit uncomfortable and the scene shifts to something else. In short, this is a film still in search of a script. I think Richard Curtis thought his reputation would be sufficient. He was wrong.

And do not expect it to bear any relationship to history, though in fairness Richard Curtis admits that its objective was only entertainment rather than truth. Even so, it is still worth mentioning that instead of being a bunch of idealists who would go down with the ship, many of the DJs simply joined the BBC in 1967 (Tony Blackburn, Dave Cash, Kenny Everett, Ed Stewart, Dave Lee Travis, Johnny Walker etc). All in all a waste of an evening, though sitting through some of trailers before the film, made me realise the forthcoming attractions would have been far, far worse, so I ended up feeling grateful!
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Total disconnect from subject matter
mervynhagger27 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie pretends to be about a real era in British broadcasting set in the historical year of 1966. The movie begins with what appears to be the original script by using a CNN-like introduction. Then the script (if there was one) was thrown away. The ending is like the beginning - a stab at a serious conclusion. The middle is total and utter garbage. My take on the middle (the guts of the movie), is that it is if the original script was substituted for one written by Howard Stern imagining what it must have been like to have been an offshore pirate DJ in 1966. But Stern was not there and the real story had no relationship to his style and manner of broadcasting. I saw this movie in England about a week after its original release. Having written about the real events concerning offshore pirate radio in 1966 for academic journals; having been a teenager in England in 1966 who listened to those stations and having met many of the real people who made those stations a reality, I was offended, bored and annoyed. So avoid the movie and buy the DVD if you must in order to get the outtakes. There were two ships used in the filming but one of them ended on the cutting room floor - possibly as a result of the script change during filming. Better still, save your money and hope that someone makes a movie about the real story. This movie is a total insult to anyone who listened to the real offshore pirate stations of 1966.
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1966-nostalgia, a good laugh and historically not always precise
wvisser-leusden20 April 2009
'The boat that rocked' is your average English comedy.

Its highly original setting, on a 1966-clandestine Sixties' pirate-radio ship, surely warms the heart of everyone around at the time -- listening in when you were supposed to sleep or to do your homework. All excitement of those long-gone days is well revived.

This 1966-nostalgia keeps you on your seat, laughing & marveling until 'Boat's very Titanic-like end; this film's love-stories also revives sweet memories of your own first encounters back then.

In spite of all this, one cannot overlook that 'Boat's storyline is pretty average & fairly predictable. Those with a good memory will also have noticed that several pop songs date from 1967, or even later than that.

I wouldn't call 'The Boat that Rocked' a great film; nevertheless it entertains from beginning to end.
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This Rocks - See it!!!!
simon38187 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm writing this an hour after just seeing it and my god what a film. This film ROCKS!!!!!

It had the cinema in stitches, the story and plot were there (unlike in a popular film thats just been released on DVD) characters believable and likable - even the ones who do wrong.

I'm not going to spoil this for anyone by saying what happens, OK its a pirate radio station in the time when they were about and music radio was next to nothing on the legal wavelengths. I say WATCH IT!!!!

2 hours of quality film entertainment!!!!! Roll on when the DVD is out, its on my list already.

This is an 11 out of 10, Oscar & BAFTA time definitely.
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The Boat That Sucked (a.k.a. Carry on Broadcasting)
TheEdge-49 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"The Boat That Rocked" should have been a great movie, given its subject matter but unfortunately writer/director Richard Curtis has provided a poor script that really should have had a number of rewrites before it was put into production. Unfortunately Curtis has really has lost his way in the last few years since he wrote and directed "Love Actually", which was a good film, actually. But whilst he has undoubtedly done good work in the past, he clearly needs a director who can tell him what works and what doesn't. It is telling that he has reportedly credited director Mike Newell for the success of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" in steering his script towards a general story arc rather than a collection of comic set-pieces. Unfortunately this film could have done with Newell's input: it is nearly all comic set-pieces (most of which are not that funny). Curtis is clearly not the best director of his own material and if he ever gets to make another film for Working Title, one hopes that Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will hire someone other than Curtis to direct it.

Some of the actors in this film fare better than others. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent as The Count (obviously based on Emperor Rosko), proving that acting quality can make up for a lot. Bill Nighy plays Bill Nighy excellently and Rhys Ifans, Ralph Brown, Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd do a lot with what they are given. However newcomer Tom Sturridge, the son of "Brideshead Revisited" director Charles Sturridge, is lumbered with the Hugh Grant role, complete with "ums" and "ers" and the floppy hair style while Tom Brooke, playing Thick Kevin, gets saddled with dialogue that is clearly stale Baldrick leftovers from "Blackadder". Recycling is a good thing to be sure but it shouldn't extend to recycling characters from films/television programmes that you may have written in the past. Feel free at this point to rearrange the words "trick", "one" and "pony" into a well-known phrase.

As for the female actresses, they suffer a worse fate. The talented Gemma Arterton and Tallulah Riley both get cough and spit roles that mainly consist of taking their clothes off and getting into bed with Nick Frost (at least I can see what attracted Nick Frost to this film). January Jones (from "American Pie: The Wedding" and Curtis' "Love Actually") turns up long enough to marry Chris O'Dowd before running off with Rhys Ifans 17 hours later and Emma Thompson as Sturridge's mother is depicted as a slut ("a sexual legend"). Doesn't Curtis realise how sexist his portrayal of women is in this film? Only the lesbian character portrayed by Katherine Parkinson is treated with any sympathy, more I suspect due to the diktats of political correctness than how a lesbian would really have been treated on a boat full of sex-starved men in the Sixties. As for the token coloured character, don't even get me started on that. This is wish fulfilment stuff of the worst kind and completely unbelievable).

However, the two actors who get the rawest deal of all are Kenneth Branagh and Jack Davenport. Branagh plays the film's main villain, Dormandy, a stereotypical portrayal of a repressed Tory determined to clear the airwaves of anything except for classical music. In case we haven't already twigged that Branagh is the villain of the film, he is always seen wearing a suit, his hair slicked back and sporting a moustache that makes him look like the mutant off-spring of Adolf Hitler and Blakey from "On the Buses". The only surprise is that his moustache is not the twirly type beloved of Victorian melodrama. As his henchman, Jack Davenport's character rejoices in the name of Twatt (the sound you can hear at this point is the sound of the barrel being scraped in the search of a very cheap laugh). Naturally Branagh gets to address the unfortunate Twatt by his name at every possible opportunity as if this constant repetition will make it funnier. Memo to Curtis: No it doesn't. Given that these two work in a vacuum from everyone else in the film, it really would have been a good idea to get rid of them altogether and cut down the film's indulgent running time. They would not be missed.

However, despite all this, at around the 105 minute mark, something very strange happens to this film. It's the equivalent of jump-starting a car that has a flat battery. Just when you think this particular boat is holed below the waterline and is about sink with all hands, taking the careers of a number of very good people with it, the boat itself starts taking on water and sinks (just as happened with the Radio Caroline ship on which this film is based). And this last 30 minutes of the film is great. It's everything the previous 105 minutes should have been and wasn't. Okay, so some shots in this sequence have clearly been "inspired" by "Titanic" (including the plates falling off the shelves in slow motion, here replaced by records) but as this segment of the film is so well done, I'm prepared to cut Curtis any slack I can at this point. The juxtaposition of some great music with some memorable images is particularly well done and the special effects shots are astonishing (this really looks as if it was done for real even though it can't possibly have been – just like the climbing race between Rhys Ifans and Philip Seymour Hoffman earlier on).

So if you get lured to the cinema (or video shop) to see this film on the strength of Richard Curtis' name and the great films with which he has been associated previously, start off at the 105 minute mark and just watch the last half an hour of "The Boat that Rocked". Because, trust me, it isn't going to get any better than that.
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A truly dire "British Comedy"
davidwmfc3 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I watched The Boat That Rocked several months ago, within a week of its first release after being baited by the advertisements of the best British film of the summer. This film is crass, lazy garbage, that will hopefully serve as an indictment of Richard Curtis being to old to write anything more than romantic comedies starring homely 30-something women.

Why do I hate this film? The humour is pitiful and crude, the characters obnoxious and the storyline both manages to feel inauthentic and uninteresting. The film follows the unengaging, waifish protagonist, Carl (Tom Sturridge) finding love and reuinting with his estranged father in the most obvious plot twist of the century. The film is then stretched to over two hours and decorated with a repertoire of cringeworthy sex jokes from the crusty ageing cast, all the while trying to convince us we should care about their pirate radio station being shut down.

Now inexplicably re-packaged for the US markets as "Pirate Radio", I can only advise our transatlantic cousins to steer well clear of this mess.
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A showcase for some great music.
wisewebwoman10 June 2009
Anyone looking for a plot or decent script should write their own.

I saw this under the title "Good Morning England" in Paris last night and it reminded me somewhat of "Across the Universe" another film based on its fabulous sound track.

It is a Good Old Boys type of film with women delegated to minor paper thin caricatures of sex-starved sixties rock fans, devoid of motivation or depth. One particular scene is particularly yucky as it involves one of the main characters, an innocent, plotting to secretly rape a woman.

The pirate station resembled nothing of what was prevalent on the air waves in my teen years and the boat was far too heavily populated. But it was a great premise for a film and the cast looks as if it is having a ball. Philip Seymour Hoffman, always appearing as if he was one day overdue for a good hosing down, is marvellous, as is Bill Nighy - can any other actor do understated elegance like he can? - in the role of the Radio Station's owner, living, of course, on the ship. None of these characters have any domestic or home lives and we know next to nothing about them. Thin as onion skin characterizations. Emma Thompson is terrific (and uncredited) and barely recognizable in a key role, as is Kenneth Branagh overplaying an overblown heavy.

Go for the music only and suspend any expectation of a good story. The ending signals from two miles away but everyone is having such a rollicking good time that it is hard not to laugh and share their glee. Be sure to stay till after the credits have rolled.

7 out of 10, the sound track is a must buy.
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That sinking feeling
Lejink9 May 2010
This is Richard Curtis's love-letter to the pirate radio ships that did so much to promote pop and rock music in the UK in the mid-60's, under the noses of the Establishment before being outlawed by the government in 1967 with the creation of the pop-oriented BBC Radio 1. I'm just a little too young to be aware of the impact of the pirates at the time although I've heard the odd nostalgic radio documentary retelling the story and to be absolutely honest, that medium probably served the story better as the subject does not justify a two hour plus movie like this.

Actually the more I think about it, with its obvious references to the actual disc-jockeys (who all washed away their rebellious principles by signing up to the BBC en-masse and thus became familiar to the wider public, yours truly included), you have to wonder about the moral compass of a movie that lionises anodyne jocks like Tony Blackburn, Dave Lee Travis, Bob Harris, Stuart Henry and others. Even the inclusion of a miscast Philip Seymour-Hoffman revisiting, presumably, American renegade Emperor Rosko doesn't help the movie float (sorry) and a mock-grandiose conclusion, where yet again Curtis rallies all his cast and a horde of extras for the grandstand finish, only heightens the shortcomings.

Women are treated as mere chattels, fame-obsessed fans desperate to sleep with their medium-wave heroes at the drop of a light-switch, but of course being politically correct a token black guy finds himself on board, alongside a lesbian tea-maid, who even manages to score with a pretty lesbian fan herself.

The comedic scenes are telegraphed in from Carry On Doctor At Sea, plus I doubt a four-letter word was ever broadcast on-air as is made out here. Even the music is all over the place, many of the songs actually hailing from 1968, ("Jumping Jack Flash", "Fire" for example, while The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" is from 1971) the year after the pirates closed down, while the lack of any songs by The Beatles, the major movers of the times has to be a mistake too. The only thing that made me smile was the Python-like recreation of Jimi Hendrix's notorious "Electric Ladyland" album-sleeve (again from 1968 however, pop-pickers!), albeit with a bevy of naked women in tow.

In fact the best and most rebellious thing about the film was the soundtrack, a reminder of just how tumultuously wonderful the British music scene was at the time. Buy the soundtrack album if there is one and leave this tame comedic romp at the bottom of the sea where the pirate ship eventually settles by the end.
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What a pile of unadulterated horse sh*t!
holdemuppet18 March 2010
OK, i sat down to this thinking seymour Hoffman, the fat guy from hot fuzz, etc. Great, nothing else in the DVD store, so we grabbed it. Myself and the girlfriend will watch anything. But Christ, we couldn't watch this.

It started semi- brightly, but descended into a meaningless montage of rubbish scenes, that had no meaning AT ALL. There is no story, i cant spoil it because we turned it off after an hour and ten minutes. I swear im a massive movie fan, but this crap just took the biscuit. People sleeping with obese men, for no reason; stupid dares; intermittent referrals to the government trying to close them down...my god, the list goes on and on.

After watching, I had no idea who this film was about, and it seems like it they said to themselves "okay, there was a boat that was a pirate radio station in the 60's- lets dress up some funny characters, make them look like they don't care, and create scene after scene of unrelated crap and churn out a movie that people will spend their money on and we'll do NOTHING to deserve it...

Im sorry, but I've never seen such a useless waste of movie time ever, and i sat through inspector gadget with Mathew Broderick!!! All i want to do right now is take the creators and shake them violently and say WHY WHY WHY?? what a direction-less piece of studio diarrhea. DO NOT WASTE UR PRECIOUS TIME OR MONEY PEOPLE< YOU WILL REGRET IT.

and f**k knows how it got 7.6 out of ten, it is the WORST FILM I've ever watched three quarters of, and I've seen em all. What kind of nuts reviewed this? THERE IS NO STORY!! Please don't watch this complete crap. my god, i fell robbed of my precious lifes minutes having laid eyes on it.

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It was it 1960s, and pirate radio stations on boats captured the interest of rock and roll fans.
TxMike18 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Pirate" radio stations has a long and interesting history. It seems that as long as there has been regulation there have been broadcasts operating outside the law and these are generally referred to as pirate radio broadcasts. Sometimes they are operating legally where they broadcast, but reception can be illegal in the country they are heard.

This very funny and entertaining movie is about a particular pirate radio boat in the North Sea in the mid-1960s. Seems England has limited normal radio stations to a very small time of broadcasting rock and roll music, relatively new to them. So the pirate radio station gets a crew of 6 or 8 DJs, plus a few other staff, and via 3-hour shifts broadcast 24 hours a day. This pits them against the English politicians who are desperately seeking a way to shut them down, trying to find a loophole since the broadcasts are not illegal.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is arguably the star of the movie as The Count, one of the DJs. But Bill Nighy is also very good as Quentin who seems to be the station manager and tries to keep some semblance of order on the ship. The thread of a story alone would make a rather brief movie, so much of the running time is loaded with pretty much stand-alone episodes of the silly things the group would do to pass time on the ship.

MAJOR SPOILERS: In the end they were victims of their own ship. There was an explosion at night in the engine compartment and the ship began to sink. As it began to look grim for all of them, and morning broke, they looked out and saw dozens of small and medium sized boats, filled with fans, coming to their rescue after hearing coordinates broadcast when they first got into trouble. Saved by the fans!
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