When a good movie comes along, one you really enjoy, it would be a crime not to recommend it. That’s why we’re here today. On Saturday, I watched <em>”The Boat that Rocked”</em> at the wonderful foreign-language theater Corso in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. The story is simple: in the mid-Sixties, rock’n’roll was taking over the world. It was the music of the masses, the voice of the young, yet conservative BBC Radio dedicated only a tiny slot of its daily programming to the rock revolution. So, groups of DJs literally took to the high seas and began broadcasting from ships moored in the North Sea: pirate radio was born. As short-lived as the phenomenon was, it signaled the beginning of private radio and fulfilled a need by providing a 24-hour music channel to Great Britain.
Our group of musical outlaws faces a tough challenge in Minister Dormandy and his go-to man, Twatt (a wonderfully sinister Kenneth Branagh, supported by sexy Jack Davenport in his usual straight-man role), who do their very best to discover any and all legal loopholes they may use to disband Radio Rock. The cast is simply fabulous; one has to experience the mystery of Midnight Mark, marvel at the stupidity of Thick Kevin, wonder at Dr. Dave’s success with the ladies and suffer Simple Simon’s heartbreak when his wife of 17 hours leaves him for the foppish Gavin. “Boat” boasts three A-listers who complement each other so well, it is a joy to have one of them on screen all the time. Rhys Ifans as dandy Gavin is incredible, and Gavin’s rivalry with Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s American DJ “The Count” is over the top. But if Hoffman’s character is the Count of Cool in the music world, in real life this title clearly belongs to Bill Nighy (Quentin) whose humor is drier than the Sahara and who is a pleasure to watch every time.
Naturally, the music is (still) hip, all ends well despite the inevitable catastrophe, and at the end of the film, you’re ready to go for a second round.