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Pirates film review

★★★★


Directed by: #ReggieYates

Written by: #ReggieYates

Film review by: Max White


 


Pirates is the debut feature film from noughties television actor, presenter turned documentary/movie maker, Reggie Yates. He walks into Screen 6 at the Peckhamplex in South East London on Monday night and immediately he has the crowd on-side.


Half the audience probably didn’t even know there was a post-screening Q&A. This isn’t a mob of loyal followers. But in a room mostly made up of mid to late 20 year olds, it’s all smiles and applause for him and the three stars of the film. Yates has appeared in everything from Grange Hill to The Bill, Top of the Pops and Doctor Who. He’s a face this audience has grown up with.


He later turned his attention to more serious projects, documentaries about black lives in Australia, drug addiction and so on. He has a knack for storytelling and it’s his own story he’s telling in Pirates; his story and the story of the garage scene that raised him.


Meet Cappo (Edusah), Two Tonne (Peters) and Kidda (Elazouar), the three members of the ICC (Ice Cold Crew), a London-based pirate radio station – but not that London-based pirate radio station. That one's Brentford, West London, while Yates' is in Islington, North East London. It’s where he grew up, and the characters in the story are, by his own admission, a mishmash of himself and the people he knocked around with back in the day.


It’s the eve of the millennium and the three 18-year old friends are hatching a plan to celebrate New Year in style. Naturally, the road to get there is filled with love interests, tests of friendship and plenty of capers.


It’s a celebration of the UK garage movement with tracks that thump you right back to the 90s. Numerous other details make it clear this is a period piece: Tamagotchi, flip phones, Moschino, an A-Z map.


The film’s plot is as simple as the young mens’ interests, and that’s fine. We’re here to have fun, and if the way there runs straight, I doubt you’ll hear anyone complaining. Yates does a good job of bundling a group of young lads into a small yellow car – it's impossible not to think of The Inbetweeners – and careening them from disaster to disaster while keeping the gags sharp.


The comedy’s clever and puts the cast to good use, particularly in Elazouar and Peters' physical performances. You just know that Yates saw promise in his young talent by the close-ups of their expressions and reactions, often meaning it’s their faces, not their words, that get the biggest laughs.


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