Pump Up the Volume Reviews
Not many seem to know about this film, myself included, but you should all watch it if you can. I'm glad I was introduced to it (by someone who loves it...and rightly so.)
It is ultimately about rebellion, internal and external, and fighting the system when it's representatives seek to place and keep you in a neat little box. Nicely labelled. We are dealing with teens in the early nighties, so the angst is directed at their parents as well as 'the man'. The main message at the film's core is about freedom, being who you really are and staying true to yourself, whoever that may be.
Christian Slater is excellent in this (one of his earliest) and fits perfectly as the shy and geeky mark and his darkly comic DJ alter ego, Hard Harry. You cannot help but like him and his 'screw the system' attitude. His random diatribes are crude, funny and then often quite deep, resonating with his pirate radio audience and the viewer alike. There are themes covering freedom of speech, broken families and suicide, so the film does not shy away from making a statement.
Very well acted by all concerned, particularly Slater and Samantha Mathis. Mathis is spot on here as the gothy rebel who cracks the shell and forces her way into Mark's world.
The soundtrack is awesome too and echos many of the themes of the film (as well as just being some fantastic tunes). It is used with precision, intertwined into important parts of the story (as you would expect from a film about pirate radio) before subtly moving to the background to simply compliment the action.
I can see why this film will have spoken to many that watched it on it's release and I wish I had seen it as a teen in the 90's, when it was most relevant. It still speaks to me...but as an adult, with an entirely different outlook on life. This is a film to entertain but also to inspire.
Take from it what you will.
"Talk hard, I like that. It's like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind."