Blinded By The Light-the movie-A review by a BRUCE Fan
"Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is something worse"Bruce Springsteen-The River
For Sarfraz Manzoor, the U.K. journalist whose memoir was adapted for the screenplay of "Blinded By the Light," I'd say it came true.
Set in 1987 (the time of Reagan and Thatcher), "Blinded By the Light" tells the story of Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen whose family moved from Pakistan to the working-class borough of Luton when he was a toddler.
Javed grows up in a racially hostile environment, dealing with skinheads shouting racial slurs and doing nasty things to the immigrants, while his parents work too much to barely make ends meet. (History repeating itself?)
In one crucial scene, director Gurindor Chadha’s has our hero, Javed (Viveik Kalra-great interview by Roger Ebert), hanging out at a restaurant with his friend Roops (the kid who introduced Javed to Springsteen's music-portrayed in the film by Aaron Phagura.) The two buddies are minding their own business. Enter a trio of would-be tough guy racists who announce that this particular table belongs to entitled English white people, not a pair of second class citizens.
At first, Javed and Roops give in and move to another table. Then they realize they’ve accidentally left their treasured Springsteen VHS tape behind. Javed has a ‘What would Bruce do?’ moment and in an act of defiance, (soundtracked by “Badlands,” from 1978‘s Darkness on the Edge of Town) Javed stands up, takes back what belongs to him, and recites lyrics about “the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside, that it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive!”
Having seen "Bohemian Rhapsody", the biographical drama film about Freddie Mercury, starring Rami Malek the lead singer of the British rock band Queen directed by Bryan Singer; "Rocketman", the story about Elton John starring Taron Egerton and directed by Dexter Fletcher and "Yesterday" the Danny Boyle-directed film that stars Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, a failing songwriter of Indian descent who somehow, miraculously, seems to be the only person alive who has heard of the Beatles after a mysterious global blackout; I'd have to say "Blinded by The Light" outshines them all. And not just because I'm a Springsteen fan.
(I've seen Bruce 60 times; even flew to Australia in 2017 to see him and the E Street Band in Sydney and Brisbane! So I get how his lyrics speak to people)
(BTW his concerts are off the charts! Worth every penny you have to pay!)
The reason I liked this rock-u-mentary the best is that the screenplay tells the real story of Manzoor's life in Britain in the 80s and how his life changed as Springsteen's songs and lyrics resonated with his young life. The use of Springsteen's songs (a rarity in itself) and the film's direction by Chadha weave a tale that is relevant even today.
Sure if you are an uber-Boss fan you'll notice lots of errors in some lyrics and placement of songs not yet released but the film still works. Sure there are historical errors-places no longer exist and Liberty Airport in Newark NJ wasn't named that until after 9/11 but the film works.
1. Ode to Javed / Javed’s Poem – A.R. Rahman (0:40)
2. It’s a Sin – Pet Shop Boys (4:57)
3. The Sun Always Shines On T.V. – a-ha (5:01)
4. “The Boss of Us All” – Blinded by the Light Cast (0:11)
5. Dancing In the Dark – Bruce Springsteen (3:56)
6. “You Should Be Listening to Our Music” – Blinded by the Light Cast (0:22)
7. “I Never Knew Music Could Be Like This” – Blinded by the Light Cast (0:52)
8. The River (Live at Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY – September 1979) – Bruce Springsteen (5:08)
9. “Number One Paki Film” – Blinded by the Light Cast (1:03)
10. Badlands – Bruce Springsteen (4:00)
11. Cover Me – Bruce Springsteen (3:22)
12. Thunder Road (Live at the Roxy Theatre, W. Hollywood, CA – October 1975) – Bruce Springsteen (5:31)
13. Get Out of My Way Fascist (Pigs) – Amer Chadha-Patel) (1:44)
14. “Do It For Me” – Blinded by the Light Cast (0:42)
15. Prove It All Night – Bruce Springsteen (3:57)
16. Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen (3:13)
17. “You, Me… And Bruce” – Blinded by the Light Cast (0:06)
18. Because the Night – Bruce Springsteen (3:22)
19. Maar Chadapa – Heera) (5:02)
20. The Promised Land ((Live Acoustic) [Live on The National Mall, Washington D.C. – November 11, 2014]) – Bruce Springsteen (4:39)
21. Blinded By the Light – Bruce Springsteen (5:01)
22. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen (4:27)
23. I Will Stand By You – Bruce Springsteen (4:35)
24. For You My Love – A.R. Rahman (3:30)
A somewhat uber-Springsteen "Tramp"