Pirates is showing in cinemas nationwide from Friday 26th November.
In the past few years, the coming-of-age films of the 90s and early 00s have shifted. Where we once had the mega-party antics of Project X, we now have 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 gap left by that wild ‘we only have tonight!’ mantra that 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, Jordan Peters’ previous endeavours left him with a mostly cut role. 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 pop out of the screen and 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 are absolute breakout stars, 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 UK Garage. Here 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 emotional and musical beats 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 not only his city but 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 the best party and road trip films combined to create 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, impeccable style, and most of all, it’s just a banger of a film.