SXSW 2022: A Memorable Evening With Your Best Mates – ‘Pirates’ Reviewed

by Gary Catig

Eighteen is an important age because it marks a turning point in many people’s lives — the beginning of adulthood and a time when old friendships can change while entering that new stage in our collective journeys. In Pirates, the three main characters try to have one last hurrah before confronting the reality that things will soon never be the same again.

The film occurs under a London backdrop of the late 90s as Cappo (Elliot Edusah), Two Tonne (Jordan Peters) and Kidda (Reda Elazour) look to score tickets to the biggest New Year’s Eve party. Once there, Two Tonne hopes to impress his long-time crush, Sophie (Kassius Nelson). As the night progresses, the trio find themselves on a memorable adventure worthy of ringing in a new century.

Pirates starts off a bit slow as it introduces its main characters, but once they set out on their quest, the pace quickens for an enjoyable ride. Compared to its American counterparts in the same genre, the movie isn’t a completely hormone-filled, raunchy comedy. There is a more serious tone with the main focus on the dynamic and friendship between the three teens, which is a nice change of pace.

That’s not to say there aren’t any hysterical moments. The writing sets up amusing moments of grounded situational humor and antics, with the scene when they obtain the tickets particularly standing out. The set up, along with the backstory, and the eventual shocking resolution is a true laugh out loud moment.

Director and writer Reggie Yates executes the dramatic aspects as effectively. He sets the stage and tension early on as Cappo practices letting down his buddies for when he goes to university, but can’t bring himself to do it. At their lowest point, all the stress boils over with an impactful and emotional falling out. Two Tonne’s journey is also well developed as earlier flashbacks and the comparisons of the party scenes inform his realization about how much his mates mean to him.

The three lead actors of Pirates are an amiable bunch and you really sense the camaraderie between their characters. From their teasing and ball-busting to their ability to reel each other in when they go too far, they are a fun group to tag along with for the evening. Elazour brings an innocence and aloofness to his character that can be frustratingly funny in a little brother way, but he also instills a lot of heart into Kidda.

The setting of New Year’s Eve before the new millennium further emphasizes the themes of new beginnings, but doesn’t contribute much after that. It may be due to cultural differences, but the references to the era don’t really create the nostalgia you would expect. Although the music, whether it be in the soundtrack or sung by the characters, is used effectively to complement the mood and set up some of the gags.

Though not the first entry into teen comedies, Pirates sets itself apart with a more grounded addition to the genre which is supported by an amiable trio of leads and an entertaining night of escapades to reinforce who your best friends are.

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