The British feel-good comedy BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is all about the legendary musician Bruce Springsteen. But many of the creatively staged individual scenes are better than the film as a whole. We reveal more about this in our review.
A perfect couple.
The plot summary
Teenager Javed (Viveik Kalra) is originally from Pakistan before immigrating to the UK with his family. In 1987 he lives in the English city of Luton and dreams of a career as a poet and writer. Amid the ethnic and economic unrest of the time, he writes poetry to escape the intolerance of his hometown and the indomitability of his conservative father (Kulvinder Ghir). When a classmate (Aaron Phagura) plays him the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed sees parallels in Springsteen’s haunting lyrics to his own working-class life. Jared discovers a liberating outlet for his repressed dreams and finds the courage to express himself in his very own voice.
Blinded by the Light Movie Meaning & ending
But “Bohemian Rhapsody” did some damage there too! Since Dexter Fletcher’s Queen biopic shattered all advance estimates last year and became one of the most successful films of 2018 around the world, also winning four Oscars and becoming the most-watched and highest-grossing screen portrait of all time, music-oriented feel-good films have been on the rise like mushrooms from the ground. Admittedly, some of these were at least in planning before the “Bohemian Rhapsody” triumph. Nevertheless, one can speak with a clear conscience of a trend to which the Kenyan director Gurinder Chadha (“Kick it Like Backham”) is adding another representative. After “Rocketman” and “Yesterday,” now comes “Blinded by the Light,” the coming-of-age story by Bruce Springsteen superfan Sarfraz Manzoor based on true events. In fact, the three-person team of authors consisting of Gurinder Chadha, her regular co-author Paul Mayeda Berges (“The Star of India”) and Sarfraz Manzoor (“The Dark Side of Porn”) himself manage to get through the actually ordinary life of the Pakistani-born teenager to fill Bruce Springsteen’s powerful songs with life. But ultimately, “Blinded by the Light” remains a coming-of-age film like any other, with hardly anything new to add to the good old “Believe in yourself, then you can do anything!” message.
When Javed (Viveik Kalra) sings a serenade to his chosen one, Eliza (Neil Williams), the bystanders get carried away.
“Blinded by the Light” has some outstandingly rousing (musical) sequences to offer and is also strongly carried away by the catchy, catchy soundtrack, which begins with the Pet Shop Boys and from then on a Bruce Springsteen song follows fires at the other. You have to imagine the scenes in which the thoughts of the protagonist Javed, embodied by Viveik Kalra (“Next of Kin”) between dreamy and rebellious , synchronize with the content of the songs like this: in an emotionally tense moment – regardless of whether it is positive or negative nature – the young man listens to the sounds of the “Boss” and suddenly his surroundings come to life as if by magic. Then suddenly the pages with Javed’s poems that had just flown through the open window dance through the darkness in the light of the street lamps (“Dancing in the Dark”) or a picture montage of Javed’s journey to Bruce Springsteen’s birthplace of Long Branch, New Yersey is accompanied by the eponymous “Blinded by the Light” while the dazzling sunlight shines into the faces of Javed and his best friend Roops. It’s exciting to see how the makers find a scenic equivalent for every big Bruce Springsteen hit and sometimes even drift into musicalesque. However, this only applies to the production, for example when Javed makes a musical declaration of love to his beloved Eliza (Neil Williams) at a flea market and the next moment everyone around begins to be carried away by the music. The characters always know whether they are singing or talking and, at inappropriate moments, consider this to be appropriately bizarre.
The scene in the market is also the highlight of “Blinded by the Light” and, like the film as a whole, is strongly reminiscent of a musically somewhat more limited “Sing Street” , as it primarily uses the pieces by Bruce Springsteen becomes. Tricks such as the idea of depicting particularly important lyrics in writing on the screen, as they literally revolve around the protagonist’s thoughts, would also have been well used in John Carney’s ode to the 80s. But while the “Once” director sometimes simply let himself go with the flow when staging “Sing Street” and allowed his main characters to go overboard every now and then, Gurinder Chadha chooses the path of least resistance for “Blinded by the Light”. . She presents her main character with the cliché image of the extremely strict father who is concerned about (Pakistani) traditions, against which Javed has to defend himself again and again over the course of almost two hours. There is no question that he ultimately succeeds. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing in the context of a classic feel-good film if Chadha didn’t fill the finale with an effortful, maudlin monologue from her protagonist and, to top it off, turn the father into a budding Springsteen fan himself. Ultimately, that’s too much of a good thing and retroactively makes “Blinded by the Light” seem much cheesier and more forced than the film is in its best moments, in which the makers simply want to celebrate Springsteen’s timeless music. The narrative inserts surrounding the racist rejection of Javed and his Pakistani family are also reduced to clumsy generalities.
The music, on the other hand, fulfills its purpose perfectly. Regardless of whether it is “Dancing in the Dark”, “Badlands”, “Cover Me” or “Thunder Road”, Gurinder Chadha easily manages to incorporate all of these evergreens into her film, so that the enthusiasm for Javed’s “Boss” is immediately felt transmitted to the audience. This means that “Blinded by the Light” is a lot ahead of the only moderately inspiring Beatles fantasy “Yesterday”, which could probably have been implemented just as well with any other band. Javed and his friends, on the other hand, absorb the Springsteen songs with every fiber of their being and never leave any doubt that it is only the twelve-time Emmy winner who understands the worries and needs of his young fans. But just like a film about Bruce Springsteen, “Blinded by the Light” is also a film about England in the late 1980s. Warm, washed-out autumn colors dominate cinematographer Ben Smithard’s images (“Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas”), which give the impression that this was actually shot on film. The furnishings of the settings, the clothing of the characters and seemingly insignificant details such as the technology in the studio of the school’s own radio station demonstrate attention to detail and ingenuity; “Blinded by the Light” could have been released in its decade and looks and feels like it is out of time. It’s a shame that this impression of timelessness isn’t fully transferred to the story. You can either find this traditional, or just downright discouraged.
Conclusion: “Blinded by the Light” is a must for Bruce Springsteen fans and a recommendation for lovers of harmless feel-good entertainment. A little more substance would have been good for the story, which relies exclusively on genre set pieces, even if you can’t help but tap your foot with the many evergreens of “Boss”.
“Blinded by the Light” can be seen in USA cinemas from August 22nd.