'Blinded By The Light' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(Viveik Kalra, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Nell Williams, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / PG-13 / 2019 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: The film tells the story of Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent growing up in the town of Luton, England, in 1987.
Amidst the racial and economic turmoil of the times, he writes poetry as a means to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the inflexibility of his traditional father (Kulvinder Ghir).
But when a classmate (Aaron Phagura) introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels to his working-class life in the powerful lyrics.
As Javed discovers a cathartic outlet for his own pent-up dreams, he also begins to find the courage to express himself in his own unique voice.
Blu-ray Verdict: Based on the semi autobiographical by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, 'Blinded by the Light' is about Javed (Viveik Kalra), a teenager who has started college in 1987 in the town of Luton which is facing industrial decline and the rise in racism.
Javed grew up in a traditional Pakistani family, his dad works in a car factory and is soon to be made redundant. His dad would like Javed to have a professional job where he can earn good money, but Javed wants to write instead - but he thinks no one would be interested.
When a college friend introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed finds the Boss's music talks to him directly and it enables Javed to find his own voice.
My parents used to talk about living in Luton. They must have hated it as they only stayed there for a few months and soon returned up north! Life in Luton during Mrs. Thatcher's 1980s was not too different from many other towns in the UK, to be honest.
No jobs, no money and fascists wanting to blame immigrants. It is notable that this film is set in 1987, but the yuppies have yet to get to places like Luton. They only seemed to have existed in London at that time.
'Blinded By The Light' is a feel good movie with undercurrents of the political and economics circumstances of the 1980s. It is a fertile ground to incorporate Bruce Springsteen songs, particularly from albums such as The River and Darkness on the Edge of Town.
These albums had songs which resonated with blue collar workers in the USA that were facing job insecurity and young people heading towards a life of uncertainty.
The film also shows that Springsteen's songs cuts across class, nationality, race and religion. It is this which elevates the movie. Javed, a young lad of Pakistani origin and his friend Roops, a sikh are inspired by the Boss's music and find meaning in their lives.having differences when it comes to growing up.
Regardless, the film contains twelve Springsteen songs including an unreleased song that he originally wrote for the first Harry Potter film, but that went unused!
Given that The Boss can be notorious in allowing clearance for his music to be used in movies, in effect this film had his blessing and I was surprised he did not end up with a Producer credit.
In closing, Viveik Kalra plays the title role with spot-on sincerity and wide-eyed stardom. He is believable, and likable, and kindles the passion that burns within all Springsteen fans regardless of age, gender, and nationality.
The film is successful in showing that Bruce's music adheres to no borders yet gets all Disney friendly with relationship resolution.
Ergo, as you can now tell, 'Blinded By The Light' preaches the Gospel According to Bruce in a typical Hollywood fashion. The believers may nod with righteous hallelujahs while praying the uninitiated turn from their heathen ways.
The Holy Land might be in Freehold, but truly exists in speakers and ear buds belonging to us all, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
- Behind the Scenes: The true story behind the film
- Making-of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
Own 'Blinded By The Light' on Blu-ray and DVD on November 19th, 2019 and Digital on October 22nd, 2019.
Official 'Blinded By The Light' Trailer