The year is 1966. BBC Radio broadcasts less than 45 minutes per day of recorded pop music while the pirates do so, 24 hours a day. Enter 17-year-old Carl, just expelled from school after being caught smoking. His mother sends him to stay with godfather Quentin, boss of Radio Rock, a pirate ship keeping narrowly within the law by broadcasting to Britain from the North sea. Radio Rock is modelled loosely on Radio Caroline, one of the main pirate stations of the era until closed down in 1967 and replaced with Radio 1, which employed several of its DJs. The plot is fairly basic: a bunch of over-the-top DJs exchange banter with each other when not extolling their virtues on air and proclaiming that they and their music are the best, or not trying to bed some cute young lady on board. But they are under threat. Sir Alistair Dormandy, a government minister (based on Anthony Wedgwood Benn, the Postmaster-general who outlawed the pirates) is taking on the drug-takers, lawbreakers and fornicators by closing down this rock''n''roll pornography. When told that such broadcasting is not strictly illegal, he is told that if you don''t like something, you simply legislate against it. War is declared - government vs pirate radio. Though basically comedy, there are one or two poignant scenes. A marriage of convenience on board ship doesn''t last long, and Carl asks his mother one or two questions regarding his paternity; the answer is not what he expects. As a former DJ myself and as someone whose teens were vastly improved by this rock''n''roll pornography, I adored the soundtrack. How could a batch of oldies like ''Jumpin'' Jack Flash'', ''Lazy Sunday'', Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)'', ''She''d Rather Be With Me'', ''The Happening'', and ''A Whiter Shade of Pale'' be improved upon? It''s also fun to see the jocks on board bopping around to the records, and then a swift cut to schoolchildren, mums and dads at home, office workers and nurses cheerfully gyrating around to the same 45 as it blares from their transistor radios. I loved the cast; most of the DJs are appropriately complete nutters, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman whose performance as he Count was modelled on Emperor Rosko; Bill Nighy as the school monitor-like controller Quentin, trying to keep his team on the right side of caution while really just as much an anti-establishment free spirit as the rest; and Kenneth Branagh as the pompous Dormandy. The DJs are ego-tripping stereotypes, with no attempt to probe deeper into their personalities. But within a single feature film, that isn''t really possible. It may not make much sense to a younger generation, but those of us who remember the golden age of sixties pop heaven and the pirates will surely get it and adore it. I did.
Produced written and directed by Richard Curtis
Co-Producers: Debra Hayward, Emma Freud, Eric Fellner, Hilary Bevan Jones
Starring: Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh
Written and directed by Richard Curtis, probably best known for hit movies Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, in the Boat that Rocks Curtis takes us on a journey of adventure on the high seas.
Based on the Pirate Radio''s of the 1960''s it transports the viewer back in time to an age of psychedelia, free love, and rock & roll.
The premise is a good one put a bunch of chaps on a boat whose only common factor is that they are all DJ''s. Throw into the mix a lesbian cook an innocent 18 year old boy, some fans and there is some drama and laughs along the way.
Forced by the government to take to the seas in order to broadcast the terrible, evil pop music the DJ''s make unlikely crew mates and it comes across very, well that some of them get on and some don''t and one or two just don''t give a damn. A true to life factor being that the ego''s of some of these chaps far outweighed their talent.
A whole host of talented British actors are cast in the film, plus one American DJ The Count played by Seymour Hoffman. Nighy has a leading role as long suffering manager/ peacekeeper Quentin and manages to raise some ironic laughs with his genius deadpan comic timing. Ladies favourite voice ?Doctor? Dave is played by Frost, who despite his ordinary looks pulls most of the girls. On the airwaves his show is followed by ?Simple Simon? O''Dowd, who really does come across as ?Simple? and it won''t be a spoiler to say he even gets married on air, Simon''s innocence ensures a likeable character. Ifans takes the role of the flamboyant ego Gavin Kavannagh and is introduced by the Rolling Stones track ?Jumping Jack Flash?, the Rolling Stones track worked so well introducing the character. A most memorable parts for me was the deleted scene where Ifans struts his stuff to another Rolling Stones track in Guatemala. Well worth watching the deletes for this scene alone.
The 18 year old played by Tom Sturridge, who portrayed the innocence of youth and the coming of age scenes brilliantly.
There is a lot going on in what could be a superficial film. The government trying to close down the radio stations - Kenneth Branagh plays a bad guy dirty tricks politician.
There are far too many good scenes to highlight any, the story steamrollers along at a cracking pace with the wonderful Curtis direction ensuring polished performances from the cast. The story is told so well and it is easy to find yourself wondering which DJ each character was based on. A little love interest is added for Carl in the shape of Quentin''s niece who comes on a visit. Much of the humour is ironic and slightly cringe worthy, this is not a laugh a minute or non-stop thigh slapping type of humour.
I remember there being a lot of hype around this film when it first came out, so took the opportunity to pick up the DVD when i saw it at a decent price in Blockbuster. It had a few decent actors in so i thought it would be an enjoyable film. I was wrong. It's one of those films that start out slowly and you think that maybe it will pick up as it gets going. It doesn't! The best part is the end, which is the only point where there seems to be a bit more excitement and a change form the rest of the drab, boring storyline. There is not much i can write on here without giving parts of the storyline away, but i can say the story is boring and just seems to go round and round in circles. I don't know where all the comedy was meant to be, but i think i slightly laughed once (and that is being generous).
It's a shame that the actors have this film under their belts as it is boring, wooden and long winded. I know that this review could be more informative, but don't want to write any "spoilers" The only thing i can say is that it does have great soundtrack.
Star - Richard Curtis
Run time - 116 minutes
I'm not a huge fan of Richard Curtis but you have to pat him on the back for what he has done for British film, here and abroad, able to make movies that appeal to both sides of the Atlantic, although I still have Four Weddings comfortably near the top of my all-time top ten over-rated films, to me three episodes of a tiresome old fashioned sitcom stuck together. There are no words to describe just how bad 'Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason' is. There is, of course, something for everyone in Love Actually and so hard not to like that one, that signature Curtis comedy ensemble approach again present in The Boat that Rocks.
Based loosely on the life and death of the pirate station 'Radio Caroline', Curtis is one of very few directors working in the U.K. today who could get funding in a tough market for such a self-indulgent project, a two hour comedy about a claustrophobic space like a floating radio station certainly limiting the appeal and potential for comic material, which proved the case. But if he can make Mr. Bean money then he can make this work.
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... The Count
Tom Sturridge ... Young Carl
Bill Nighy ... Quentin
Will Adamsdale ... News John
Tom Brooke ... Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby ... Angus Nutsford
Marianne (Talulah Riley
Nick Frost ... Doctor Dave
Katherine Parkinson ... Felicity
Chris O'Dowd ... Simple Simon
Ike Hamilton ... Harold
Stephen Moore ... Prime Minister
Jack Davenport .... Twatt
Kenneth Branagh.... Sir Alistair Dormandy
It's the swinging 60s and a man called Quentin (Bill Nighy) has set up a floating radio station in international waters in the North Sea to play rock n roll for the kids, 'Radio Rock' his riposte to the conservative British establishment that only seem to want to play jazz and classical. With his team of eclectic DJs they spin the records 24/7, a furtive listen for the kids doing their homework or under the bed sheets, people across the land tired of boring mainstream radio tuning in, brash American DJ "The Count" (Philip Seymour Hoffman) the leader of the 'decks on the deck', if you like.
A new recruit has been welcomed onboard as one of their own, young Carl (Tom Sturridge), wet behind the ears and Quentin's nephew. "Doctor" Dave (Nick Frost) deems it his first task to get the kid drunk and then lose his virginity, willing and pretty girls shipped out to party on the boat all the time so there is no shortage of opportunities, even for lesbian cook Felicity (the sexy Katherine Parkinson from the I.T Crowd), the boat a non stop party.
Back on dry land and the PM (Stephen Moore) has ordered Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) to close the station down for not paying tax on their commercial endorsements and, of course, corrupting the youth, Dormandy immediately assigning his subordinate, 'Twatt' (Jack Davenport), to get the job done through whatever means, with some early success by blocking all British advertising on the station through threat of fines.
Quentin hits back by signing retired pirate legend DJ Gavin Kavanagh (Rhys Ifans), who immediately threatens 'The Count's' authority on the boat as head honcho, the two rutting like stags with various dares and challenges, including climbing the 60ft transmitter. Meanwhile little Carl is learning fast, soon smitten with sexy Marianne (Talulah Riley), on board for her 18th birthday. And when DJ "Simple" Simon Stafford (Chris O'Dowd) decides to marry his girlfriend Elenore (January Jones) on an onboard ceremony it seems spirits are lifted like the profits and the party will rage on once again. But they didn't count of Twatt's tenacity to get the job done.
*Try the trailer first*
This is a strange one. On the face of it setting the whole movie on a boat leaves little room (literally) for much humor and yet after you watch it you realize just how many opportunities were missed for good gags. But even though there are few big laughs and genuinely funny comic sequences to enjoy (making you fully aware of the misjudged two hour run time) it still has that Curtis appeal so you can't help but warm to it. He just has the magic touch. Part of that is that winning formula is the eclectic quality of the British and American cast (the men all idiots like the ones you see in TV commercials), and as with all Richard Curtis movies, the groovy soundtrack covering the cracks, of which there are many, the music always a big seller on his films, Tarantino's banker, of course. The romance is peripheral this time around, unfamiliar territory for the rom-com king, the occasional knob gag thrown in to fill that gaping narrative hole in the hull. You do get the feeling he inserted the 'Twatt' character late on just to insure some laughter in the film with that running gag because the film clearly lacked big laughs in the edit room.
What Curtis has basically done has applied his successful and admired sweet rom-com approach to a vanity project and just about got away with it, any other director handed this script surely would have sunk without a trace, a pun that had to come, a film that offers many. It would have been the title for my review and I was fully expecting it to be but Curtis knows all the tricks and its hard not to go along with the party on the boat, this a warm, inoffensive and pleasant comedy that showcases plenty of alternative British comedy talent, be it through rather thin and idiotic characters.
From its £20 million budget it did £36 million back, a good profit for a mid range British film, all too often denied screening in our own multiplexes as they are mostly owned by the big American studios wanting to hog the screens with their movies for maxim return, why we get so much dross here, especially American rom-com's, Curtis the antidote to Jennifer Aniston. So many stunning foreign movies go unseen in the provincial towns because of that carve up.
MSN.com -"A perfectly enjoyable comedy that never strays beyond its play list of colorful personalities and comic antics".
Life Magazine - "Comedy flounders in a sea of mediocrity"
The Guardian -"Curtis' crew, although piloting a fairly flimsy vessel, plot-wise, sure knows how to have fun, armed as they are with one of the most memorable classic-rock sound tracks this side of Forrest Gump".
The Seattle Times -"Fun, fun, fun until the Prime Minister takes the T-Bird away"
Imdb.com - 7.4 out of 10.0 (30,799)
Metacritic.com - 58% critic's approval (users 75% approval)
Rottentomatos.com - 60% critic's approval (users 72% approval)
= = = Special Features = = =
Cast & Crew mucking about.
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Copied from my Ciao account of the same name.
THE BOAT THAT ROCKED is a British Comedy about a pirate radio station. It is rated '15' by the BBFC.
The story behind The Boat that Rocked is that it is set in the '70s and '80s, where pop and rock didn't really have much of a place on the official British radio stations. As a result, radio stations on the sea, dubbed Pirate Radios, transmitted rock and pop music to all the people that wanted to hear it. This film follows the DJs that live on the boat, the events they hold on the boat and on the British Government who is desperately trying make the pirate radio stations illegal by any means necessary. It may not sound that interesting, but it's all layed out in a way that would be attractive to any British Comedy Watcher.
Actors and Characters
The actors (and actresses) in this film are fantastic, and have generally starred in other fantastic films and series' such as Chris 'O Dowd and Katherine Parkinson who both starred in the Channel 4 TV show, The IT Crowd, to critical acclaim. However, even those actors that hadn't made that much of an appearance before this movie came out provided considerably excellent performances. Each of the characters were believable and had their own personality that was really defining for them as characters in a movie. The characters wouldn't have been nearly as believable or hilarious without the actors that portrayed them so well, this goes to the films credit, notching it up above other comedy films that lack the actors that made this film considerably excellent. The characters were a diverse bunch and I really think that made it easy to emphasise for them and it also added more reasons for me to love the movie.
It's always hard to judge a comedy movie by its special effects simply because it's not the focus of what they're aiming for. The movie aims to be funny, not a rough-and-tumble unbelievable explosion fest (I'm looking at you, Michael Bay), however, the special effects in this, although very rare, are believable when they do occur. There are a few stunt scenes and scenes where special effects come into play, but I can't really mention them in the review under the possibility that I may ruin it for everyone. I can safely say that the special effects, however, are convincing, although not frequently used throughout this movie.
This is a movie about music, specifically '70s and '80s rock and pop music. Those who lived through that time, and possibly even listened to the real pirate radio stations, will be in their element. It features a good collection of tracks and musicians and the soundtrack as a whole makes for brilliant listening material. It's rare to have a soundtrack composed of so many well-known and generally fantastic tracks, but in this occasion, I'm glad that they done it, as it adds to the mood and the sense of date. I can safely say that anyone who longs for the '80s to be back will be wanting the soundtrack for this movie for many years to come.
The Directors Other Films
The other films by the director range from the children's classic Mr. Bean to the Vicar of Dibley in the range of comedy. He has also written may episodes of Blackadder. However, the director has not only directed comedy, seen as the director has also directed other British films and series' such as Doctor Who and Notting Hill. Some may question if The Boat That Rocked would be comparable to the other works that he has directed and written, but I think that The Boat That Rocked is among the greatest British Films of all time.
Value for Money
Let's get this straight. I generally watch a film no more than a single time, I've watched The Boat That Rocked three times. If you're an 'avid film re-watcher' (phrase coined), then this is certainly for you. There are also a few special features on the disk and a commentary by the director on the movie that overlays the film as you watch it, which could be interesting for those that want to see the directors' side on everything. For anyone who loves British comedy, listened to '80s music as a kid or loved The Vicar of Dibley, then this film is most certainly for you, and it will be worth every single penny that you will pay.
The Boat that Rocked is a '15' after all, were you really expecting it to be a nice and happy family film.
Language - There is some strong language in The Boat that Rocked, approximately fifty F-Words are said throughout the film. Other milder terms are used with similar frequency.
Sexual Content - Talks of marriage, stag parties, some partial nudity
Violence - Minor fistfights, some men are shown with broken bones in casts and slings. Nothing graphic.
There isn't enough content to suggest that a teenager couldn't watch this film without problems, therefore I suggest this film could be watched by a mature twelve year old.
This is an extremely hilarious film from the director of what many would call British Greats. It's highly unlikely that you'll find a recent British film that will be even somewhat comparable to this one. For that reason, I'd say that this film is one of the few products that I could ever find myself rating five stars. There is very little wrong with it, but some people may not find that it tickles their funny bone very much, but for British Comedy Fans, this is a must. Go and buy it now, and if you've already bought it, watch it now.
I give this film five out of five stars.
Tony Blackburn was one, so were the legendary Kenny Everett and Johnny Walker. In the sixties they were all DJ's on a pirate radio station. To give some idea to the phrase Pirate Radio - it is a ship that is based out at sea and broadcasts illegally usually outside the UK borders and in turn gaining quite a cult status with a large fan following, most of who are teenagers.
The Boat That Rocks is a film by written and directed by Richard Curtis that follows the exploits of Radio Rock, the station that has a following in sixties Britain. The story fits well with the real life happening of Radio Caroline and Radio London who both broadcast off the Essex coast. What Curtis has done has taken the story and made up his own story, he has Quinton the Station Manager, played by Bill Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, and Nick Frost you know straight away that things are going to be messy. Also appearing are Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson in supporting roles that play a vital part in the proceedings. Bill Nighy seems to play his role in his sleep and delivers the dialogue in his usual dry manner that recently partnered the Vauxhall advert, my point is that he isn't stretched at all in the part and maybe considered by some to be underused. Nick Frost from Space stands out and makes his character of Doctor Dave his own.
I would love to describe the plot or the story of the film, but there isn't really a plot to the film at all; it's just a story of what goes on the boat and how this has an affect on the population that the Government doesn't like. Set in 1966, the film opens with a young man called Carl arriving on the Radio Rock boat, Quinton is his godparent and his Mum has asked him to have a stay on Radio Rock since Carl was expelled from school as a means of protecting him. Given the fact that the boat is full of men and a cook who openly admits she is a lesbian, you can tell straight away that the DJ's have other things on their minds and any women that come on board are always fair game. The Ministers in London want to end the reign of pirate radio and with the assistance of Mr Twatt plans to end Radio Rock for good by finding a loophole to close them down. By the end of the film you see Carl attempting to lose his virginity and learning some of life's lessons the hard way whilst on board. In fact this is really his story and the actor who plays him, Tom Sturridge, plays the part well and is convincing as the 17 year old on an adventure.
As is usual for a Curtis movie there is a lot of love in the story, this usually involves a boat load of girls or groupies visiting the boat. This leads to some scenes where the ladies are simply bits of skirt; however for a young man called Carl there is a diamond in the rough. Kenneth Brannagh plays the uptight and near tyrannical Government Minister who wants close Radio Rock down. His appearance with greased hair, small moustache and dark suit fits the role perfectly; his assistant called Mr Twatt is played by Jack Davenport from Pirates of the Caribbean. To be honest with the name that Davenport's characters has this opens the doors to some verbal hilarity although funny the first time, by the third or fourth time it gets a bit boring. As the film evolves over the unnecessary length of 135 minutes the sub-plots kick in and the rivalry between two members of the crew begins with a game of chicken that involves climbing the mast and jumping in the sea. In fact this is one of the highlights of the film as its Philips Seymour Hoffman stealing the limelight completely with his character called The Count, so when rival DJ Gavin Kavanagh comes aboard it's a case of egos clashing. The other highlight is the soundtrack that seems to be continuous mix of music from the 1960's. Although it compliments the story and most of the situations the film throws up, it becomes rather flat by the two hour mark. That's not to say that the music isn't as there is a decent mix of songs that reflect the era with well known bands such as The Kinks, and Dusty Springfield, it's just that the songs become dominant and then modern day singer Duffy comes on performing in her irritating manner! I have no idea either!
As this can easily be considered a period piece there has been some factual points that have been given "an artistic licence". By this I mean a scene where the Minister is meeting Mr Twatt on a balcony overlooking the River Thames in Central London. The problem I have with this is that even though the costume tailoring is reflective of the times, the external lighting of the buildings along the Thames and the amount of traffic going by isn't, I think at one point I saw the outline of a blurred London Eye in the background, its simply too bright! In the period that the film is set none of London's buildings were lit up as this was a totally different area in design. These days there are the luxury flats and offices that frequent the length of the shoreline, in fact the street lighting used to be turned off midnight. Even saying that the film was based on fact could be bending reality a little.
As the film continues towards the end, the boat itself becomes the focal point as a whole new and quite dramatic scene unfolds in terms of what happens - by this point I was getting to a stage where I couldn't actually care less and was hoping they would all drown! Whether the end scenes featuring the boat are models or computer work they are exceedingly well done and this shows on-screen with what is happening to the boat. This impressed me to say the least, it is the last 20 minutes that the film takes a major change in direction from a comedy to a drama, I didn't expect this at all and was a little taken aback at the change of direction although it did feel that this sequence was added on at the last minute.
Overall it's not a bad film, but then it's not a good film. Compare this as a Richard Curtis film to Four Weddings or Notting Hill then this is easily one of the weaker films of his catalogue. It's also too long in length for a film of this nature with a slight identity crisis... comedy, drama? There are also a too many sub-plots for my liking and Carl working out why he was sent to the boat in the first place was probably a bit too far. The cast is an ensemble that you don't see much these days in films, and although overall they mostly deliver with esteem in there respective parts, it can be easily noted that the film seems to have been written around them rather than the other way round. If you perform a few justifiable edits and cut some scenes, reduce the film to under the two hour mark then the film would have been a lot better with a quicker pace that would have built up to the unexpectedly dark scenes towards the end. Still unsure if this was a film that was aimed at a person like me or if this was a chick flick, the jury is still out for me on this one, best to say that I enjoyed the first hour, yet the second half was at a slower pace that seemed to change at a moments notice.
If this was on TV then I would watch it to kill some time, on DVD I would probably avoid.
In 1960's Britain the Government controlled what was played on the radio and dictated what the British people should be listening to. A number of groups disagreed with that principle and set up Pirate radio stations. One of those stations, Radio Rock, was based on a boat operating in the North Sea off the coast of Britain. With the Government determined to shut them down, the head of the station has to find numerous new ways to keep the station on the air and the funding in place. The film plays out as a game of Cat and mouse between the station bosses and the Government.
I'd been quite keen to see The Boat that Rocked. Over the last year or so I'd heard a lot of good things about it and the trailer certainly made it look pretty good. Now however having finally got around to seeing it over the weekend I have to admit that my initial perceptions were way wide of the mark. For a movie that was suppose to be a comedy I found it very disappointing and in fact those funnier moments from the trailer weren't actually as funny when set into the rest of the movie.
There had been enough reason to expect something a lot better as writer/director Richard Curtis took the chair for his second movie after the surprisingly funny Love Actually. The results though are no where near as good as you might expect and it's hard to pin down whether this is down to the direction, the script or a combination of both. One of the better areas of the film was certainly the way Curtis had captured the period in which it was set. The sets looked convincing and worked pretty well. Having got that right though the rest of the film felt a little empty with the use of too many strange close ups and in parts very poor lighting.
Even the script didn't seem to be up to Curtis's usual high standard and a plot, which sounded quite interesting, became a little detached and incredibly hard to get into. The dialogue between the characters was at times forced and perhaps more importantly none of the characters actually seemed particularly likeable. I find in stories where I cant connect with the characters I tend to struggle to enjoy the film and that was certainly the case here. From what should have been a promising premise the film failed miserably in my opinion.
I can't even bring myself to say too much positive about the cast either. Again the potential was there with such big names as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans. Unfortunately though it fails to deliver and I have to admit to being very disappointed. This is probably the fist film I've seen with Bill Nighy in that I've really disliked. His character is a little strange and you can't really take to him. Where as Rhys Ifans character is perhaps the opposite, he's crude, rude and meant to be out of control but rather than looking like the bad boy of the film it ends up appearing to be a little bit pathetic.
The whole cast were pretty disappointing but I think they did the best with what they were given. There wasn't a single character in the movie I actually thought fitted the film and that really was a major disappointment. There was a lot of potential with the concept and the cast that Curtis had at his disposal but there was no time through the entire film that I thought either element was used to the extent it should have been. With a poor cast, awful script and average direction it would be fair to say that the 60's rock inspired Soundtrack is perhaps the only decent asspect of the movie.
Overall, if you haven't already guessed, I was incredibly disappointed with the Boat That Rocked. I thought there was real potential in the concept of the movie and I think that Curtis got it wrong. He has a track record of writing and on one occasion directing decent movies but for some reason this one just doesn't work. It is slow to start, hard to get into and for both my wife and I it was almost impossible to sit through the unnecessarily long 116 minute run time. In the end we didn't actually give up on it although we actually wish we had, one to avoid.
RELEASED: 2009, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 117mins
DIRECTOR & WRITER: Richard Curtis
Hilary Bevan Jones
Carl (Tom Sturridge)
The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
'Simple' Simon Swafford (Chris O'Dowd)
Angus (Rhys Darby)
Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown)
Quentin (Bill Nighy)
John Mayford (Will Adamsdale)
Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom)
Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke)
Gavin Kavanagh (Rhys Ifans)
Dr Dave (Nick Frost)
Felicity (Katherine Parkinson)
Harold (Ike Hamilton)
Prime Minister (Stephen Moore)
Emma Thompson (Carl's Mother)
Elenore (January Jones)
Marianne (Talullah Riley)
Dominic Twatt (Jack Davenport)
A few months ago, a friend lent me her copy of The Boat That Rocked. She'd received it as a Christmas present, loved it, and because her and I are the same age and both share very fond memories of 1960s pirate radio, she felt that she'd like me to see it too. At the time, I valiantly tried to watch and enjoy the film, but was unable to view more than about 20 minutes' worth of it before reaching a level of boredom whereby I just had to quit and return the DVD to my friend.
The other day, I asked my friend if I could borrow the DVD again, as I felt that I'd not given it a fair chance, also feeling that even if I still hated it, at least I could write a review on it. So, tonight was the night!
The year is 1966, and after being expelled from school, young Carl is sent by his mother to stay on a pirate radio ship called Radio Rock (which I believe is intended to be loosely based on Radio Caroline) that is broadcasting from the North Sea. Whilst on board the ship, Carl is gradually introduced to the world of sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and illicit radio. Later on in the film, he also learns the identity of his father.
Whilst the crew on Radio Rock were broadcasting all that wonderful 1960s music to the nation which simply wasn't being played anywhere on the BBC, the government were holding meetings with the purpose in mind of making offshore pirate radio illegal, which is very true to what in reality was happening in the UK at the time, except that the reasons given by Harold Wilson's government back in 1966 was that pirate radio was a danger to shipping because it could potentially interfere with SOS calls from any vessels that were in trouble and needed to radio for assistance. If I have recalled that wrongly, somebody please feel free to correct me.
The body of the movie is done in a sort of a jape style, whereby the cast get up to some fairly mad capers....as to how close to true life as the real pirate radio stations actually were in those days, I honestly have no idea, but I did find most of these capers silly rather than entertaining or amusing in any way. For me, there's hilarious silly and boring silly - I found this largely boring silly.
I did manage to watch the film all the way through this time, but at quite frequent points, felt my attention straying away from the screen, mostly because of finding the crew's antics a bit too daft. Also, I found the film in some ways was too fast moving - there was too much going on - yet, at the same time, there was a contradictory element in that though it was too speedy and jerky for me, the film in its entirety was far too long. I felt that it would have been more comfortable for me to watch if it were shorter by at least 30 minutes. I suppose what held me most of all was the music, and I did also find some of the characters quite strong, although I felt that much more could have been made of the potential their persona held. My favourite of all was The Count (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) - a rather genial American who though in his way just as mad as the others, seemed to have a warmth and a sensitivity about him as well.
I could be splitting hairs here, but I found certain issues with some areas of authenticity as to how things were in 1966. For instance, I don't think the word 'spliff' was used in those days....they were referred to as joints, and I personally don't recall in my own experience of life (which back in the 1970s and very slightly spilling into the early 1980s did fringe around the drug scene) anybody using the term 'spliff' until 1978 at the very earliest. Also, it's my belief that expressions such as "the F word", "twat" and "think outside the box" weren't used at all back in the mid-1960s, their entry into our everyday speech occurring much more recently.
Some more hairs for me to split are chronology as regards some of the music played. The year is supposed to be 1966, yet the DJs were playing songs from 1967 such as The Tremeloes' Silence Is Golden, The Box Tops' The Letter, The Turtles' She'd Rather Be With Me, The Young Rascals' Groovin', and The Supremes' The Happening. Also tracks which didn't surface until 1968 were played, such as John Fred & His Playboy Band's Judy In Disguise, The Rolling Stones' Jumping Jack Flash, The Small Faces' Lazy Sunday, Herb Alpert's This Guy's In Love With You and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown's Fire.
There were another couple of anomalies in that during one scene, a red London bus is shown, yet this bus is definitely a 21st century model - not one which would have been on the streets of our capital in the mid-1960s....they looked quite different in those days! The camera occasionally panned to the foyer of a government building where the meetings to discuss banning pirate radio were held, and the décor in this foyer was far more in keeping with a late 1980s/early 1990s style, yet the government official's personal office was straight out of the 1970s. A further little observation - yes I know I'm nit-picking - is that as far as I'm aware, the term 'condoms' wasn't used in ordinary conversation in the mid-1960s. If my memory is serving me correctly, I seem to recall them for the most part being referred to as 'johnnies' or 'rubbers', the term 'condoms' coming more into fashion and being popularised when the AIDS scare first began in the early to mid-1980s.
Due care and attention was paid to certain other things though...for instance, there is a point where some of the crew of the ship have breakfast on deck, and the Kellogg's Frosties packet on the table plus the Daddies' sauce bottle are exactly the design which was around in those days, as was the historically authentic-looking packet of Fairy Snow in one of the ship's bathrooms. Some of the fashions (especially the clothes) were straight out of 1966, as the film hopped from the ship to various different groups of people listening to Radio Rock in their schools, homes, workplaces etc.
I do realise it's possible that a lot of people may (quite likely with justification) feel that I'm being pedantic and paying too much attention to detail that may be irrelevant in the whole scheme of things, but for me it's important to have historical accuracy in order to accentuate the realism of everything.
Overall, I can't say that I was too impressed with The Boat That Rocked, because I felt there was a lot going on in the film, but for me it was a lot of nothing. One part I did enjoy though was the last twenty or so minutes. I had no idea where the very vague/loose storyline of the film was going, and the path it took did surprise me somewhat, but although I felt it was a good and strong area in which to wind down to the ending, for me it did drag out longer than it needed to or was comfortable.
I don't think I want to watch The Boat That Rocked again, although I can appreciate that a lot of people would enjoy it and find it amusing. Maybe my sense of humour just lies in a different area to this particular film, and others of its ilk. The only bit of it that I could strongly identify with, was recall, in that I have strong memories of being horrified when moves in parliament were being made to close down all the pirate radio stations (Radio Caroline wasn't the only one...just the most well known), and at age 13, I even scribbled a rather vehement letter to Harold Wilson and posted it to him at the House Of Commons! He didn't reply, but then when we're that young, we don't always appreciate that we can't change the minds of those in the corridors of power single-handedly!
It was a sad day for the nation when the pirates were removed from the airwaves, and The Boat That Rocked does portray that side of the tragedy fairly well, despite in my opinion it being a bit of a waste of time in most other areas. During the 1970s, Radio Caroline did return, but music and society had changed by then and it didn't hold quite the same magic. I'm not sure if they are still broadcasting...maybe somebody could enlighten?
I'm not sure how I personally feel the film could have been improved upon....maybe shorten it a bit, slow it down a bit, and replace the jape element of humour with something perhaps a bit more surreal? I also consider that it might.....just might.....have more impact when seen on a big cinema screen, rather than at home on my computer monitor?
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
The Boat That Rocked was one of those films that when it came out and I saw the clips from it I thought it wasn't my cup of tea at all and I would absolutely hate it. I had no intention of ever watching it but this afternoon, I was bored and looking on tv for something to watch and saw that they were showing it on Sky Anytime so I decided to give it a go quite expecting to turn it off after half hour or so.
How wrong could I have been! I thought it was really funny and a brilliant story. I loved every minute of it.
The film is about a bunch of Djs and their crew working on a pirate radio ship called Radio Rocks back in the swinging sixties. I can remember these kind of radio stations playing on the air and used to have a tiny transistor radio that I used to tune in to one of them and put it under my pillow so I could listen to it without my Mum or Dad finding out. The channel used to fade in and out during the songs but this was just normal back then and I loved it.
The story tells you about their friendship towards each other aboard the ship and I found it really touching in places, the way they all gathered together to be there for each other when needed.
The main characters in the film were as follows. Carl (Tom Sturridge) who was a young lad sent on board the boat to stay with his godfather Quentin (Bill Nighy) by his mother Charlotte Emma Thompson). Quentin is the boss of the radio station. The Djs are The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dr Dave (Nick Frost), Simon Swafford (Chris O'Dowd), Angus (Rhys Darby), Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom) and Dj Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown). Also on the ship are Harold (Ike Hamiton) who is the Djs assisntant, Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) who is the cook and Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke) who doesn't seem to do anything but ends up being Carls room mate.
Later in the film another Dj returns to the ship from the past, Gavn Kavanagh (Rhys Ifans).
The government people who are trying their hardest to get the radio station shut down are Government Minister Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh) and his side kick Twat (Jack Davenport).
I thought all the actors played their parts really well, I especially liked the characters Dr Dave and The Count. They were really funny and made me laugh all the time.
There were lots of bits in the film that I wasn't expecting, especially the ending, it was brilliant and left me wanting to see it again.
The soundtrack to the film was great with so many amazing sixties tunes being played. Apparently they played 60 songs during the film.
The film lasts for 116 minutes and has been cut by quite a lot as the original film was over three hours long. The deleted scenes can be found on the dvd and I would really like to see these. It is rated a 15 in the UK and it was directed by Richard Curtis.
I like a night in with a movie every once in a while , especially with my friends. One of us either brings a DVD over , or we rent one. This one occasion , my friend brought over this DVD ; The Boat That Rocked , which was released in 2009 , and so is fairly recent , yet not a film that I was familiar with. The film stars Nick Frost and Michael Hadley as well as a few other actors I hadn't heard of until now. Running time of the film is nine minutes over two hours and the film is a 15 which means it must not be seen by persons under the age of fifteen. The DVD is available to buy from Amazon for a price of £3.99 which I think is excellent value considering that the film was only released at the end of last year.
Carl has recently been expelled from school and so his mother send him to visit his godfather , in hope that the visit will help him work out what he wants to do in the future. Quentin , his godfather is a rock DJ for a pirate radio station in the middle of the North Sea. Quentin is joined by a few other men who also work at the station. The experience is a very eventful one for Carl , and he even manages to find out who is father is! But is a future in rock n roll a future for him ? Watch The Boat That Rocked to find out.
I did not enjoy this film at all! I found the plot to be really boring and there wasn't that much excitement as the plot didn't really go far. I just didn't find it interesting at all. I would say that it is more of an 'older man's film'. Apparently it is based on the 1960's pirate radio stations that were in Britain at the time , and so older viewers may like to step back in time to the 1990's.
I had expected the movie to be really funny , but there was nothing funny whatsoever in this movie , and I am the kind of person who laughs at everything , so no this movie didn't do it for me! I really liked the music in the film though (I think that is the only thing I like about this movie).
Unless you remember the 1960's events , I wouldn't really recommend this movie unless you are a big music/history fan.
Thanks for reading!
May 1st 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
We watched this on DVD yesterday afternoon. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting too much from the film and neither was my partner. The only reason we wanted to see it was because some of it was filmed near his hometown! Although we watched this on DVD, we never bother with the extras so this is a film only review.
The film begins by giving us some facts about British radio in the 1960s. For example, BBC radio was broadcasting only 45 minutes of rock and pop music per day. We are then introduced to everyday people, listening to the radio but we can see that they must not be listening to BBC radio.
Instead, they are listening to Radio Rock, a pirate station broadcast from a boat in the middle of the sea! When we get to see on board the ship, there is a young man, Carl being sent there by his mother in order to stay with his godfather because of his recent behaviour. This concept allows us as the audience to be introduced to the crew of the boat really well as it means that we go on board the ship at the same time as Carl.
As there are about 10 men on the boat and one woman (who is a lesbian) there are plenty of women coming and going on the boat and they all appear to be having a lovely time doing what they love. However, whilst they are having a whale of a time on the boat, the government are busy trying to track them down and stop their broadcasting. Will they find them?
I was hooked on this film from the start. There was so much to see and so much going on that it was hard not to be! You kind of see the film from a third person perspective. However, I found myself backing Carl throughout as we were introduced to the boat when he was and also he was the youngest making him vulnerable.
One of my favourite things about the film was the soundtrack. It was absolutely fantastic and there was very often some 60s music playing. Although 60s is not what I usually choose to listen to, it was what my Dad listened to when I was young and lots of it was very familiar and feel good.
I did like the plot of the film and there was a twist towards the end that I was not expecting and neither was my partner which meant that the film was not predictable. The plot flowed well and I never found myself wondering when it was going to pick up pace. The film lasts over 2 hours which is quite long but I felt that this was the right time for the film.
The characters are really what made the film as they were all very diverse and interesting! Being on a ship full of men, you can be certain that poor Carl saw everything. All of the characters were all very funny and each had their own personal personalities which made them so interesting. The acting was very good, I had seen a few of the actors of the film but some were brand new to me. A few characters to look out for are Thick Kevin, Doctor Dave and Simple Simon.
The ending of the film was done very well and both me and my partner thought it was superb. The film overall has a real feel good feel to it and I found myself grinning on numerous occasions. Perfect viewing for a Sunday afternoon!
The film was released in the UK in 2009 and can now be picked up on DVD for around £5.
It was directed and written by Richard Curtis.
It stars Michael Hadley, Bill Nighy, Tom Brooke, Nick Frost and Katherine Parkinson.
It is rated a 15 in the UK which I believe to be a correct rating.
It runs for just over 2 hours.
If you want something light hearted, laid back and different to watch I recommend this. The soundtrack is brilliant and I really enjoyed the film. Recommended.
This film was something of a labour of love for the director Richard Curtis a film set in the sixties about the days when Pirate radio ruled and music
was relayed to the nation from little boats.
Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to live on one of these boats as punishment by his mother, which seems strange at first, he finds that the resident DJ's and crew are such fun that this is just about the greatest punishment he could ever have wished for. However Carl hasn't been sent here for that reason, we realise that one of the DJ's on the ship is Carl's father, but which one?
The film is set against a groovy sixties backdrop with fantastic music, a great cast and an oppressive government wishing to close down this rebellious crew spreading their gospel to the nation from the North Sea.
Michael Hadley ... Mr. Roberts
Charlie Rowe ... James
Lucy Fleming ... Mrs. Roberts
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... The Count
Tom Sturridge ... Little Carl
Ian Mercer ... Transfer Boatman
Bill Nighy ... Quentin
Will Adamsdale ... News John
Tom Brooke ... Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby ... Angus Nutsford
Nick Frost ... Doctor Dave
Katherine Parkinson ... Felicity
Chris O'Dowd ... Simple Simon
Ike Hamilton ... Harold
This film it has to be said is very hit and miss, it is written and directed by Richard Curtis of Love Actually, Notting Hill and Blackadder fame, he admits the subject is one that fascinates him and in someways he has produced a film full of little intricacies of the era but somewhere the plot didn't catch up with the look and feel of the film and it feels like a great chance to showcase the comedic talents of an awesome cast without really going anywhere.
The cast is fantastic with Philip Seymour Hoffman the best known actor, Hoffman is not known for his comedy roles but plays the top DJ with gusto and really enjoys himself. Other characters include Nick Frost as 'Doctor' Dave a man who can pull women with a wink by having a huge personality and the IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd as the friendly 'Simple' Simon Swafford, both get to showcase their characters without really going anywhere, but as always both are charming and utterly watchable. Bill Nighy plays the manager of the ship, as Bill Nighy!!
Rhys Ifans is in the film as an arrogant DJ who you eventually warm to whilst Kenneth Branagh really gets his teeth into the role of the odious Sir Alistair Dormandy the man who wants Pirate radio off the air, he has a great time in make up and is very believable.
I was really looking forward to seeing Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords in the film too but his role is very small.
The star of the film is young Sturridge as Carl, he is the narrative point and backbone of the film and he does hold it together well, allowing some big acting personalities to really show off.
The film is a gentle comedy, a coming of age film as it were. It is way too long and Curtis has indulged himself as this could have easily been edited to 100-110 minutes. There is a great cast who don't get enough to get their teeth into the jokes are fine but fluffy and the best things about the film are the music and the period.
The film looks great and the sixties music is awesome but there are too many characters and trying to give each enough screen time made a nice gentle coming of age film something a bit different. The story is fine but meanders and no amount of charm from the actors makes up for the fact the film is just too long.
I'd give this film a 3 out of 5 overall, it is funny and charming in parts and the actors are all likeable (apart from Branagh) it just feels overindulgent and as if the director and cast are having more fun than I was!!!
The DVD is available for £3.99 on Amazon or you could rent via Lovefilm as we did.
Rambling in my local HMV shop, I came across 2 for £10 offers of their film's DVD and was intrigued. After a quick glance I decided I would pick some including The Boat That Rocked.
About the film:
The Boat That Rocked was first released in the United Kingdom on April 2009. It's made by the creator of Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually and mainly performed by a group of popular British actors. It featured some of the best pop music ever recorded as well as the relevant history in 1960s in Britain.
Back to 1966, it is a summer. Although modern music such rock and roll is emerging widely in western world there is no radio station in Britain to carer to the taste, at least not officially. However there is a pirate radio station, which named Radio Rock flowing on the north sea. It broadcasts rock n roll music 24 hours a day to millions music fans. It said 1 out of 2 British people are their faithful listeners. But at the same time the current Prime Minister is trying to shut them down. How can they continue broadcasting under the pressure from the government? Who works on the boat? What does the life would like? Following Carl you will soon find an answer.
The main characters and actors:
1. Carl , played by Tom Sturridge. He's a handsome, young man growing up in a single family without knowing his father. Due his misbehaviour he is expelled from school and is being sent to a pirate radio ship, Radio Rock, to stay with the ship's Captain, his godfather, Quentin. As a guest, at beginning he was shy and reserved. Whilst rambling around the ship he's getting familiar with the DJs there. Also he gradually grows to maturity after a series of hits happened with himself and others.
Tom Sturridge, who was born in a performance family in London. His actor career started when he was just about 10 years. These experiences with his romantic temperament made his performance as Carl outstanding alongside other famous actors.
2. Quentin, Casted by Bill Nighy, as the radio station's boss and captain he looks calm and resolute no matter what happens with his boat. He also like a father looking after his family carefully.
Bill Nighy is an English actor and comedian. He worked in theatre and television before his first cinema role in 1981. However he became known around the world in 2003 as Billy Mack, the aging pop star in Love Actually.
3. The Count, "a big, brash, American god of the airwaves", played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Count is the head of all DJs on board even after the arrival of Garvin. There is no surprise he is the one fighting for another DJ.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is an American actor and theatre director. His acting career started in television in 1991, but has gained big achievement in films. In 2005, Hoffman played the title role in the biographical film Capote , for which he won multiple acting awards including an Academy Award for Best Actor. He also received two Academy Award nominations for his supporting work in Charlie Wilson's War and Doubt , respectively.
4. Dr. Dave, "Big... and very beautiful" DJ , played by Nick Frost. He's fat, but popular with women, particularly young girls. Besides his work he wastes no time in introducing Carl to women and life.
Nick Frost was born in 1972 and is an English actor, comedian and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in Shaun of the Dead, a 2004 British horror comedy.
5. Simon, breakfast DJ, played by Chris O'Dowd. He's a simple but good-hearted man with munificence. He loves music as his life, so when he has to separate with his too-good-to-be-true wife in 17 hours of marrying he still can dose his duty very well.
Chris O'Dowd was born in 1979 and is an Irish actor. His performance in TV series The IT Crowd as Roy made him popular in the UK.
6. Gavin, Star DJ, played by Rhys Ifans. As the current King of the Airwaves he was invited by Quentin to increase the Ads income of the station. However his returning causes a sensation among the crew and his female fans.
Rhys Ifans was born in Wales and appeared in many Welsh language television programmers before embarking on his film career. In 1999 he was Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in film Notting Hill.
7. Felicity, the lesbian cook, played Katherine Parkinson. It's very unusual for woman working on boat except if she's a lesbian.
Katherine Parkinson was born in 1978 and is an English actress. She's getting to be known for playing as Jen Barber in The IT Crowd and as Practice Receptionist Pauline in Doc Martin.
It's written and directed by Richard Curtis, who was born in 1956 and is one of great British screenwriter. Best known for the movies Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. In 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.
The DVD features:
The film's running time is 130 minutes approx in English with 8 subtitle tracks. The DVD bonus includes a feature commentary with Richard Curtis, Producer, and Actors Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd. It also keeps some deleted scenes in one of which you can see the performance of James Corden, one of the most popular comedian in the UK.
It's rated 15, due to some nudity and scenes with swearing. Currently available from Amazon priced at £3.99 with free shipping.
What I like:
Before The Boat That Rocked I had watched Four Weddings and A Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually many times. Mainly because I like the actor Hugh Grant and the actress. However I do think the creator Richard Curtis is a gifted director and screenwriter. His films uniquely developed my imagination about British culture and the people. So I was holding a big expectation for his newest one.
First, the storyline. It's based on a real history, but more interesting than history itself. The appearance of Carl accompanying by realistic voices and pictures from BBC station immediately brought me back to 1960s. Although the film is over 2 hours I didn't feel bored because the story is totally unpredictable particularly for me, who totally had no idea about the period.
Second, the performance. No matter main roles or smaller roles, the performers all were or are popular stars gaining some big achievement in films and TV. All of their acting are fabulous and hugely enjoyable. I was very pleased to see some of my familiar actors, such as Bill Nighy, Chris O'Dowd and Katherine Parkinson. Not to mention James Corden. He is not in the film, but it was a big surprise and real bonus to see him in one of the deleted scenes.
Third, the music. Needless to say they are Rock n Roll. The music used in the film not only were some of most popular and classical songs at the time, but also play very important functions to develop the film. Like a messenger, they passed people's happiness, the sadness as well as aspiration for love and freedom.
What I dislike:
I quite enjoyed the film, although there are two criticisms. One is the swearing words. As I mentioned above this film is only suitable for persons over 15 years and over due to some strong language and nudity pictures. However as an adult I felt the swearing was over used like a form of sound pollution. It maybe was normal with these people on board, but as a film maker, they should be more careful to deal with these issue. It said art is from reality, but higher than the reality. The other one is about the quantity of the characters. There are some main and supporting characters plus many minor roles in the film, consequently no one is deeply impressive and really known by audiences. I suppose it's the one reason why no one built more reputation for their career in such all-star film.
All in all, I would recommend this film to you, no matter you are the lover of Richard Curtis films or not. It would be an enjoyable historical journey with a lot of laughs and songs. You may feel rocked sometimes, but definitely will be getting back to the land.
I don't go to the cinema very often but this was one film that i went to see. I went to see it with my mum and my sister at a cinema in weymouth where some of the scenes were shot.
The film is about a pirate radio station which is being broadcast from a boat, at his point in time in the 60's there are very few radio stations and these radio stations are only playing an average of 2 hours of pop a day. The pirate radio station is fighting to not get closed down, the goverment are trying everything in their power to deem this illegal and shut down all pirate radio stations that are playing pop music 24 hours a day.
The story starts with a young boy named carl being sent to the boat to stay with his godfather (quentin played by Bill Nighly) to straighten himself out, or so we are led to believe at the beginning. Carl really grows up on the boat and becomes a young man. He also finds himself a love interest in the character played by tullulah reily
All the members on the boat are male except for the chef who is a lesbian called felicity. I love felicitys character, shes the only woman on the boat and we see her feeding them very rarely, on the occasion i remember it is a bowl of chrisps with chocolate bars poking out of it!
This film includes many big names playing DJ's on the boat including Phillip seymour Hoffman (the count) and Nick frost (dave) This film shows the story of their life almost from carls eyes and the relatiosnhips, romances and fights of all the characters living on the boat.
This film is jam packed with amazing music from the 60's. Though the one song that doesn't really fit in is a song recorded by duffy. I really dislike this song and i don't understand why they put it in.
I loved this film so much that i went out and bought it and have shown it to all my friends who have all in turn fallen in love with it as well.
The Boat that Rocked is a 2009 comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis. It follows a group of radio pirates led by Bill Nighy who must think of diffrent ways to bring in money to keep the radio station going, constantly outsmarting the goverment to make the advertising legal. The film follows the funny shennanigans of the Dj's and Brannaghs goverment official and gives us an isight into the fun world that is 1960's radio.
The film is very funny with some great performances especially from kenneth brannagh who creates a new level of stuck up. Full of Sixties music the film is clearly a labour of love from Richard Curtis who directs with a sense of fun and a keen eye for direction. His script is full of humour and clever dialouge that translated effortlessy to screen.
The dvd is packed full of 11 deleted scenes but unfortunatly dont improve the movie but it doesnt need it. Commentrys are funny and and shows how much fun everyone involved had making the film.
Running at 2hrs and 10 mins its a long film but passes by without dragging due to the great acting and writting from all involved in the movie