Blinded By The Light Movie Review
By David Neff
A few years back, I was at a concert for Coheed and Cambria at the Joint when the Oasis song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” began to play. For a moment, no longer than 10 seconds, what felt like the entire venue belted out the chorus “Her soul slides away, but don’t look back in anger I heard you say.” That connection that people feel during encore where emotions are overjoyed but you crave for more. The moments in between each breath as you wait yearning for the bank to perform its finale. That emotion is how to describe Blinded by the Light for good portion.
Placed on the drop back of 1987 Luton, England, a factory town succumbing to recession, a young teenager Javed a British teen of Pakistani descent has dreams of being a writer and the talent for it also. However, he lacks the conviction to fall into the same tired cultural principles that comedian Kumail Nanjiani spoke in his 2017 breakout role The Big Sick. A culture that is difficult to learn to be accepted as the extreme right and dangerous National Front continues to oppress claiming how England should remain white and black. Javid though stricken by a lack of inspiration and depression, receives a chance encounter with his classmate, Roop, who turns him onto the songs of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Javed asserts himself into having the feeling of being tired and bored with himself, of wanting to change his clothes and hair and face, of asserting that he’s a man and not a boy and of believing in the promised land. A feeling that most of us can relate to in some way, shape or form. Javed though stricken by a lack of inspiration and depression, receives a chance encounter with his classmate, Roop, who turns him onto the songs of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen’s influence in this movie is very heavy enough to possibly even turn off some people from it who aren’t fans. Ironically, I never really gave Springsteen and honest chance and immediately saw the appeal to his music. It’s that same feeling we get when there’s a song stuck in your head and it hits deeper than you expect. You can’t help but loop on and on through a stereo until either you can’t stand it any longer or you begin to use it as an expression. Like previous movies of recent years from “La La Land” or “A Star Is Born” the extravagance feels of a music video using the song “The Promised Land” as the catalyst. While the sequence can feel more teenage angst trying to reach out, even in today’s world you can see how this is still appealing regardless that the song came out in 1978.
It is to note that both Viveik Kalra playing Javed and Kulvinder Ghir playing his strict father, Malik both do superbly in their roles. The influence of seeing a father having trouble understanding his child is something I’m sure all men find a way to relate to. Trying to influence into not becoming who we are but, also protecting them, Ghir plays that note like a fiddle and Kalra teenage angst works well counteracting that. Along with the pressures of trying to find work, Ghir trying to be the head of the household who can’t make money is something so powerful and prominent that speaks volumes.
That being said, there are certain problems with the movie that can’t be overlooked. A particular scene in the movie revolving once again the conflict between teenage angst and conflict with family is very heavy-handed when it didn’t need to be. Also, while the music is great and relatable there are some unfocused scenes in terms of becoming a musical. While it is a fun sequence, it was off-putting for a film that had been serious to a fault to have something that felt so cheesy. Nevertheless, Blinded by the Light is a great way to actually introduce someone to The Boss and even a great film in general. The acting is mostly good and a lot of positive and powerful moments come through. While there were questionable scenes that felt off in the movie, it’s clear this was something made out of love for The Boss.