Pirates is showing in cinemas nationwide from Friday 26th November.
In the past few years, the coming-of-age mega-party antics of Project X have transformed into thoughtful musings on teenhood in The Edge of Seventeen. This is by no means a bad thing; after all, teenagers are angst-ridden, hormonal and over-thinking by their nature. But there is a distinct gap left by the wild ‘we only have tonight!’ powered films like American Pie or Superbad. You might have noticed that I have only named American films, and that’s for a good reason; the UK is mainly devoid of that energetic, hormone-fuelled extravaganza we call the teen party film. But, luckily for us, Reggie Yates has swooped in to save the day with PIRATES.
PIRATES is many things. It blends the stylings of the classic road trip and party movie into a road-trip-party, following the trio of Cappo (Elliot Edusah), Two Tonne (Jordan Peters), and Kidda (Reda Elazouar) as they hustle and grind to get into the biggest party in South London on New Year’s Eve, 1999. In Yates’ introduction to the film, he discussed the importance of this group of boys to his cast – he recounted Reda thanking him for giving him a role that wasn’t just ‘Son of Terrorist’ or ‘Terrorist #3′. At the same time, he discussed how Jordan Peters’ previous roles left him on the cutting room floor. But, here, Yates gives the three of them the chance to lead, and they absolutely run away with it.
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The trio of lads has immeasurable chemistry, firing off jokes at one another at 130 BPM. They’re undeniably talented, and they each captivate with their charming personas. You’ll be hard-pressed to select one that stands above the rest – possibly Jordan since PIRATES does revolve around his quest. However, make no mistake, each of these boys is an absolute breakout star, and it would be criminal not to put them in more projects immediately. This is proper British talent.
Given Yates’ extensive background as a musical host and radio DJ, it’s no surprise that PIRATES is also a celebration of the UK Garage scene. The soundtrack is wall-to-wall bangers, from Hardrive to RIP Groove, and while I won’t pretend to be anything more than a rookie, I have absolutely no doubt that garage lovers will be blaring this soundtrack for weeks on end.
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Once the beats come in, they don’t stop as Yates spins this musical tapestry of emotion and music into a unique London symphony. It’s a sound that inherently ties the entire film back to its London roots, and it’s clear that Yates is creating a love letter to his city and the 1990s as an era of change. While introducing the film, he spoke about the importance of PIRATES showing another side to growing up in London, “Some boys want to go to university, some want to get the girl; it needn’t always be the same story of crime and trauma”.
PIRATES is a cinematic mixtape of party and road trip films with a distinct London sound. With its celebration of the UK garage scene alongside some of the brightest British stars of tomorrow, this is one of the best British coming-of-age films in recent years. It’s got personality, style, and most of all, it’s just a banger of a film.