Sunday, November 15, 2009

REVIEW: Pirate Radio

Pirate Radio is one half of a good movie. When it's about a crew of DJs hanging out on a boat off the coast of London broadcasting the only rock-n-roll available to Brits, it's gold. When it's about the clash of ideologies between popular music and the establishment, it's gold. When it's trying to tell a coming-of-age story about a totally bland central character, it's absolutely dead.

In its best moments, it captures the fleeting experience once-in-a-lifetime experiences bring about, and in its worst, it's almost impossible to sit through. It, like so many others (including The Men Who Stare at Goats, which I might find the energy to review), suffers from the awful desire to introduce us to this world via a totally bland, completely uninteresting and devoid of any trait that would ever make him human, central character.

Luckily, those don't stick as hard as the joy of rebellion and the freedom of pop music; the total expression of the feeling evoked by The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Supremes, or Dusty Springfield. Or it could just be that the music itself is unbelievable. There's such an onslaught, it can be difficult to decipher exactly where one ends and another begins.

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