Newest Reviews
Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two
Psychic, The
Brief Encounter
Boys from County Hell
All Hands On Deck
Beasts Clawing at Straws
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
  Radio On Lost On The Way
Year: 1980
Director: Christopher Petit
Stars: David Beames, Lisa Kreuzer, Sandy Ratcliff, Andrew Byatt, Sue Jones-Davies, Sting, Sabina Michael, Katja Kersten, Paul Hollywood, Adrian Jones, Cyril Kent
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Robert (David Beames) is a disc jockey for United Biscuits, whose programmes are broadcast over the tannoy at their factories as the workers perform the late shift. However, this numbing life of sleeping all day and playing records all night is about to be disrupted when he recieves a telephone call from his mother to inform him that his brother has died, found dead in his own bath. It was only the other day that Robert had a package of cassette tapes delivered to him from his brother, and he is immediately suspicious, so decides to drive down to Bristol and find out more...

Sometimes critics cannot help themselves and feel the urge to make their own works instead of telling everyone what they think of other people's, and so it was with Christopher Petit, a film editor for Time Out magazine whose Radio On was his first attempt. For an initial effort, it was clearly indebted to the New German Cinema movement of the seventies and more specifically the films of Wim Wenders, and indeed Wenders became one of the producers on this, but if you looked a little closer you would see a more British sense of time and place here.

That time being the end of the grim seventies, and Petit goes out of his way to render his landscapes and cityscapes as dourly as possible, yet in an odd way he finds a bleak romanticism in these images. Essentially Radio On was a road movie, and while you might think that in a country as small as Britain this most American of genres needed more in the way of endless highways and wide open spaces, here Wenders had shown that Europe could come up with something just as effective.

Of course, a journey from London to Bristol is not exactly an epic quest, but Petit does not pretend otherwise and there's little sense of grand vistas to be conquered no matter how cinematic the road trip can be. In fact, many of the characters seem thoroughly disengaged from their lives, with Robert meeting a variety of curious folks on his way, from a deserter from the Army who he ditches at the roadside when he turns threatening to none other than Sting, a mechanic playing guitar in an Eddie Cochran tribute as he sits in a caravan near a petrol station.

And as it is the law, any mention of Eddie Cochran must include a mention that Dave Dee of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch was the first police officer at the scene of his fatal crash, and Radio On does not let us down as far as that goes. But it's really the music that provides any spark at all, a mixture of Krafftwerk, David Bowie and various acts from the Stiff record label, something that must have soaked up most of the budget. When something approaching a discernable plot emerges, involving a German mother (Lisa Kreuzer from Alice in the Cities) looking for her little girl, it looks out of place as the film had been finding a rhythm of its own without the inclusion of a proper story. The film offers a pessimistic and unresolved look forward to the eighties from its depressing late seventies perspective, meaning it sums up its own period quite neatly.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2481 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: