Pirates Review

With the millennium on the horizon, best friends Kidda (Reda Elazouar), Cappo (Elliot Edusah) and Two Tonne (Jordan Peters) embark on a joyride across London to get tickets to the event of the year and a shot at pirate-radio fame. But will their friendship still be standing when the clock hits midnight?

by Whelan Barzey |
Published on
Release Date:

26 Nov 2021

Original Title:

Pirates (2021)

While the title might suggest a tale of fierce marauders on choppy ocean waters, Pirates swaps sailboats for a knackered Peugeot in a light-hearted crusade through London. TV presenter Reggie Yates’ feature debut shamelessly plays on ’90s nostalgia for comedic effect by making playful references to sat navs and ‘Goo-Goo’ (better known as Google nowadays). For today’s youth, it offers a snapshot of the simplicities of yesteryear, but for those a bit longer in the tooth, it is a chance to relive the heyday of the raving era in all of its sweaty, uninhibited glory. Either way, it’s a fun if familiar night-on-the-town romp.


First-time feature director Yates makes a valiant effort to steer the narrative around London’s youth away from the played-out tales of gang violence into a refreshingly low-stakes scavenger hunt. Set on New Year's Eve 1999, Pirates follows three best friends, Cappo (Elliot Edusah), Two Tonne (Jordan Peters) and Kidda (Reda Elazouar), on a desperate road trip through London in a yellow car — affectionately named Custard Cream — to find tickets for the so-called clubbing event of the millennium.

For all of its slapstick humour, flashy designer brands and infectious garage bangers, the film’s heart beats loud enough to cut through it all

Pirates effortlessly captures the innocence of the last days of the pre-social media era: a time when looking fly, picking up dates for parties and debating how to pronounce “plantain” were the only things on the agenda. Without a clear plan in sight, the friends run into their fair share of bumps and bruises, including a one-sided scrap with So Solid Crew’s Megaman (Aaron Shosanya) and a contender for the messiest snatch-and-grab at a retail establishment.

For all of its slapstick humour, flashy designer brands and infectious garage bangers, the film’s heart beats loud enough to cut through it all. In typical coming-of-age fashion, the three teens are forced to deal with a crossroad, as Cappo grapples with the decision to leave his friends to chase their pirate-radio dreams without him whilst he heads off to university. However, squeezing in punchlines and funny solo renditions of the Backstreet Boys comes at a price as the film runs out of steam, the Custard Cream making a couple of pit-stops too many.

Pirates isn’t able to fully flesh out the individual journeys of its charming cast. However, it’s a worthwhile trade-off for a good laugh.
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