The film "Pirate Radio," which is a fictional tale loosely -- very loosely -- based on the history of mid-1960's "pirate" rock radio broadcasting into the UK from ships, utilizes a favorite antagonist of Hollywood to tell the tale.
Unfortunately, it kinda ruins the film to realize that stereotypical foe to edgy pop culture was very contrary to the reality. The choice of antagonist says more about the writer-director of the film than it does the UK government's curious 1960's opposition to rock music radio. It not only betrays the thread of the true story, but misleads what political interests were ACTUALLY taking aim at rock radio in 1966.
Who was the foe in the film versus the FACTS? As given on IMDB.com:
The Government minister in charge of closing down the pirate radio stations is depicted as a right-wing reactionary, with a grand home with servants. In fact the responsible minister was Tony Benn, then the Labour government Postmaster General at the time, who is known as one of the most left-wing and socialist senior politicians ever. -- Via IMDb Goofs: Pirate Radio (2009)
I looked into Benn, and it checks out. He was on the far left, on and off, and outright Leftist. Seems like the left was telling people what they could do in 1960's UK, not the conservative right (Churchill's side). Go figure. I think that is a significant part of the story. But the writer, rather than use the unexpected truth, went for the cynical stereotype. Shame.
I can't stand it when a tale based on fact spins the factors in the tale so far that I am left with a feeling that they wish to put the history into a wrong turn, to follow a cynical narrative, purely to mislead the otherwise uninformed public. It destroys the tale's truth, since, as you know, all good fiction holds great truths.
As far as its entertainment worth, a quick review:
I must admit I was looking forward to this film for the story of the rules-damned DJs. But I was not as entertained or enlightened to the history as I'd hoped. The movie is full of morally incompetent DJs, save a few. While the attitude that gives the film offers a lot of adult fun, it clouds the overall story. It was meant to be a movie that highlights the lack of human sophistication in the rock world, I suppose. I had hoped it was going to be focused on the fight by a distrustful, stodgy status quo against a youthful, driven pack of rebel DJs who were determined to share rock music with others. I was not left with much of that, in the end.
It was a fun romp, but made me question the Neanderthal ideals of the characters more than it made me admire these original "pirate" radio DJs. I was hoping for the latter. I think the true story deserved a better movie, be it wildly far from the true story or not.
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