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Week 9: The Boat That Rocked [Apr. 1st, 2009|09:15 am]
The Independent Film Forum

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Pirate radio and Richard Curtis - it should have been a winning combination. But was it? The latest film up for discussion in The Independent Film Forum is The Boat That Rocked. Sentimental pap or rocking comedy? Is the ensemble cast any good? Is the film worth it for the soundtrack alone? Add your comments below and we'll print the best of them in next Wednesday's paper.

Here's a scene from the film...



The Independent's Anthony Quinn was rather scathing in his review:

"I'm not sure that audiences will suffer a terror of anticipation wondering if the victors of the story will be the pinched goons of Government bureaucracy or the wacky, freewheeling, free-swearing pirates of the airwaves. But then you remember that many of those rebels ended up on Radio 1, playing the same music and polluting the air with their inane, mid-Atlantic twitter. So what is being mourned here? One suspects it's the anti-authoritarian spirit of rock'n'roll, which is an irony given the determinedly polite, inclusive, middle-of-the-road spirit in which this operates. For a man who loves the raucous, ebullient pop of the 1960s, Curtis's own output has been terribly, terminally square. This latest is a new low: The Film That Sucked."

Here's what Variety had to say about it:

"After a lively opening hour, the pic starts to lose its sparkle as Curtis tries to develop the subplots at the expense of the script’s comic buoyancy; the film could easily lose a half-an-hour, to its benefit. Though the tempo picks up again in the final 40 minutes, the movie’s fragile sketch structure almost breaks under the mini-”Titanic” setpiece of the final reels... Though it positively reeks of the ‘60s, “The Boat That Rocked” lacks the sheer grit and darker underbelly of Michael Winterbottom’s ‘70s equivalent, “24 Hour Party People.” It also isn’t quite the timely, anti-establishment comedy it promises to be at the start, but it’s as close as any comedy by a middle-class entertainer like Curtis is likely to come."

Responding to Anthony Quinn's review, this is what some of our readers had to say:

sceptic101:
Sounds awful but then what did you expect. Four Weddings ..., Notting Hill, Love Actually each one worse than the last. Sentimental, lazy, patronising and dull.

dorkingboy:
Bad casting - Nick Frost is implausible.
Bad scripting - toilet humour and silly stereotypes.
Bad subliminal attempt at being pro-Labour by being disparaging about Tories
Bad and ridiculous charactures - Branagh and Davenport - return you fees forthwith.
Bad storyline - predictable.
Bad character names - insulting to teh viewer's intelligence to a lower degree that even Carry-On would stoop.
Unworthy Mr Curtis, unworthy - be very ashamed.

Chris Simpson:
when your critic went to see this film was his seat actually facing the screen as I for one thought it was a great film and everyone else seemed to enjoy it too. This Quinn fellow deludes himself with his own self importance and needs to take an elevator out of himself back to the real world. The film is meant as light entertainment and is good for a laugh he too is like keneth Branaghs assistant a twatt.

tobluebell:
I think you're judging this film by rules that really don't apply. No strong narrative, no surprises, nothing subtle, not thought provoking, nothing much to say. It is just a bit of fun, but what an underestimated quality fun is. A few quid spent to invoke a sense of silly happiness, a small crowd leaving a cinema with big grins on their faces and tunes playing in their heads, in this time when all we are supposed to be feeling is gloom.
And I'm sorry, but every time the name Twatt was uttered, a giggle did run round the auditorium.
Unsophisticated yes, but perhaps a brief reprieve from the serious business of critical endeavor .
I'd forgotten all about Paul Jones being a Bad Bad Boy, but am happy to have been reminded

Over to you. Time to have your say.

linkReply

Comments:
From: chicunique
2009-04-04 07:12 pm (UTC)

The Boat That Rocked - review

(Sorry if this is the second time that you have received this - I am new to this website and wasn't sure if the first one got through).

Please consider my review below:
***************************************
Be warned. This film is dangerous for those of us who have opted for a safe career when really, a rebel heart beats beneath a not-that-expensively-swathed breast. You could say that the music carries this film but there are some curiously touching and bone-tingling moments. However, most of the time, I felt that I was existing in a moral void - either drowning in a sea of shameless smut or swimming in sentimental twaddle - neither an entirely comfortable place to be. However, with a remarkable performance from the pirate radio ship's nemesis - government official, (Kenneth Branagh) and his sidekick, Twatt (pronounced 'twat'), it is kept afloat...just.

The deejays who make up the cast are a smorgasbord of reprobates who are easy to scorn but deep down I secretly admire. The dialogue is as flat as the economy and Nighy's deadpan is really d-e-a-d but if you hold out for his Bowie-esque dance moves as the credits roll, you won't be disappointed. The film has lame jokes and banal characters but the rebel spirit of a group of anarchic rockers, who will just not yield to authority, uplifts my soul like a good under-wired bra uplifts a sagging breast. When I got home, I dusted off my old guitar, put on my faded old jeans and had a good look in the mirror. Maybe I could still give Joni Mitchell a run for her money after all? Now hand me that sheet music. Old hippies and rockers of the world, unite!
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From: brennig_jones
2009-04-05 08:28 pm (UTC)

The film that rocked

Anthony Quinn needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

The film 'The Boat That Rocked' is no more a historical analysis of pirate radio in the UK/Europe than the last series of Blackadder was an in-depth study of British military procedures during the First World War.

The Boat That Rocked is a typical piece of Richard Curtis feel-good. The characters are well-drawn, certain elements of the set-piece are historically correct and the flavour of the '60s is comfortably reconstructed.

What The Boat That Rocked does is successfully capture the disparate moods of the period, notably the out-of-touch, painfully square attitude of The Establishment, compared to the wants of the public.

This was, after all, the period of the Lady Chatterley court case when the prosecution summed up with the damning question 'Would you allow your servants to read this?'

Richard Curtis has captured the gulf between The Establishment and The Public and has used the DJ characters to emphasise the leverage of change that pirate radio had upon the British public.
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