Writer director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary) has a lot going on…or maybe his studio is too cheap to hire an editor. Either way, his films can suffer. Pirate Radio is no exception. The film is a wonderful story about a seminal event in rock and roll history, but it’s gummed up with a lot of extraneous junk. It’s a good film that could have been a great film.
Carl (Tom Sturridge) arrives aboard the floating radio station, ‘Radio Rock,’ to stay with his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy), and straighten out his life. The ship is a semester-at-sea-style party filled with colorful characters, including The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Dave (Nick Frost) and Angus (Rhys Darby). Antics ensue as Carl searches for love and the crew searches for a way to keep the music on the airwaves despite the efforts of stodgy government minister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) and his aptly named minion, Twatt (Jack Davenport), who are hell-bent on shutting them down.
The characters both clash and connect, and the antics on the airwaves pale in comparison to the follies on board. The film is beautifully acted; Bill Nighy delivers his signature aging rocker with elegance, and Hoffman once again proves there is no role he can’t play. The film is a tad cluttered but wildly entertaining, and if you don’t go see it, definitely buy the soundtrack.