Can’t close them down (The Boat That Rocked movie review)

Rock is considered to be a phenomenon that comes from hell and leads you straight to the devil’s place. Guards of our morality and purity find a lot of joy in creating lists of forbidden songs, albums, and even whole bands. Mick Jagger seems to be a king of sinful music, but he has a strong competition from Alice Cooper and David Bowie. What can be surprising – sometimes even The Beatles are classified as diabolic vocalists. “The Boat That Rocked” seems to be a paradise of all forbidden melodies.

There is one joke that reminds of the formula of Richard’s Curtis comedy. A woman wins a boat trip for ladies all around the world. After few days of peaceful sailing, a huge storm begins. She tries to get some help from heavens, and god decides to talk to her. She says: “oh lord, please show me your mercy. I have always been a good human being”. God answers: “seriously? But what about that night when you had cheated on your husband?” Then she changes her strategy and wants to convince the lord to don’t punish other innocent women on the boat. God laughs: “I’ve spent two years trying to collect all of you, unfaithful bitches”.

“The Boat That Rocked” is a story of musicians that define themselves as a “pirate radio”. The action of the movie takes place in ‘60s – when the British government wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves. The voice of the young generations was supposed to be muted (illegal). That’s how rock became the symbol of rebellion and seeds of the counter-culture. What’s interesting, the protagonists of Curtis’s movie don’t belong to the youths – they only stay young at their degenerated hearts. Rock is presented as a power that connects generations (as much as a belief in freedom does).

“The Boat That Rocked” is worth of watching for two main reasons – because of its unbelievable soundtrack, which can be used as playlist on the wildest of all possible parties, and because of its cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, and others as old, rebellious weirdoes are absolutely ravishing. The only defect of Curtis’s singing comedy is the fact that sometimes it gets too sugary and the entire action loses its subversive potential. It looks like the director was afraid of taking the risk and presenting his protagonists as totally degenerated, perverse, and twisted up guys, who make fun of the idea of political correctness and turn rules into unsophisticated jokes.