Movie Review – The Boat That Rocked

The Boat That RockedThe Boat That Rocked is the story of a pirate radio station that was based offshore the UK, broadcasting rock music during the 1960’s to a generation of fans who were left unsatisfied by the BBC’s limited rock offerings. The story is loosely based on true events, although, I’d probably focus more on the “loosely based” than “true events” part of that statement if I were you.

The ensemble cast does a good job of spreading the laughs around, with bigger stars like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy happily sharing the screen with relative newcomers like the reliably funny Nick Frost. Indeed, so keen were they to share the love that at times this film suffers from a surplus of side-stories in an attempt to get characters their allotted screen time. The result is that some of the scenes seem forced, with some sub-plots working better than others. Not to put too fine a point on it, but some of the actors are just flat out stronger than others as well. Equality is not always a good thing.

Kenneth Brannaugh does a decent job as the British Minister in charge of shutting the station down, but the character is so clichéd and one dimensional that it seems like a waste of his talents. It’s like hiring Pavarotti to sing you Happy Birthday. Sure, he’ll do a good job of it, but if you don’t give him a song that will really show his range, you’re just not getting your money’s worth.

The tone of the thing is so damn upbeat that by the mid-way point I suspected Writer/Director Richard Curtis might have been loaded up on prozac for large parts of the shoot. This makes BlackAdder look like Schindler’s List. There is at least one montage of a dancing pub crawl that looked like it came straight from the cutting room floor of an Austin Powers edit. Which reminds me – this film could have done with a more judicious edit itself, because at 130+ minutes it runs the risk of seeming self-indulgent.

But that’s not to say there isn’t some good stuff here as well. The sound track is fantastic – a who’s who of the 60’s rock scene with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones all getting airtime. The cast of characters that live on the boat are funny and for the most part, likeable.  The movie also gets a lift in the final twenty five minutes, with some action sequences that inject life into the film just as it was beginning to sag under its own weight.

I walked out of this one not feeling particularly annoyed, or especially pleased. I’ve spent money on worse things. It is decent entertainment, and it is fun – but it could have been much more than that. It’s an interesting premise and features a great cast who obviously get along well together, but I get the feeling that this was probably more fun to film than it is to watch as a film.

Rating – 6/10

Random Quote – I find alcohol rather sharpens my mind…

Random Actor You Will Recognize From Somewhere Else – Rhys Darby, who plays the Manager in Flight of the Conchord’s plays the socially inept and largely unpopular Angus Nutsall here.

Previous Movie Review – Defiance


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4 Responses to “Movie Review – The Boat That Rocked”

  1. Morbo Says:

    Morbo detests Love Actually Afloat. You may think that Richard Curtis is immune to pain after producing such sugary sap for so long, but Morbo assures you, he does not yet know the meaning of suffering!

  2. Movie Review – Angels & Demons « Cinestuff Says:

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