‘No one listens to Springsteen anymore. He’s history!’ – Blinded by the Light (2019) review

The power of music is sadly often underestimated in today’s society, where in reality it can have a huge impact on someone’s life. Music can be a comfort in difficult times, a way of bringing people together and an inspiration to many. Power can be found in the lyrics, and freedom can be found in the music. The power of music is well and truly celebrated in 2019 film ‘Blinded by the light’ where we are introduced to the story of Javed Khan and how by discovering the music of Bruce Springsteen, he is able to celebrate his own talents and find a way out of his oppressive family life.

Viveik Kalra leads the cast as Javed, as young British-pakistani living in Luton. He is an aspiring writer but feels like his family situation and his father’s stubborn refusal to understand his dreams is holding him back. When a friend introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Javed finds inspiration in the well thought out lyrics and decides to pursue his aspirations and decide what is truly important to him. The character is believable and all together likable as we follow Javed on his road to discovery about himself and his future.

Dean-Charles Chapman stars as Matt, Javed on again off again best friend from childhood Matt, who doesn’t truly understand Javed’s love of Springsteen, allowing for some lovely comical moments and a great scene with Rob Brydon as Matt’s Bruce loving father. With Nell Williams and Aaron Phagura as Javed’s friends Eliza and Roops respectively, there is a realistic chemistry between the characters as they bounce nicely off of each other and help each towards reaching their goals. There is a natural, yet not over the top, flow of comedy between the friends. Frankie Fox is a bit of a scene stealer as school radio presenter Colin.

The comedy is nicely balanced with conflict, with Javed coming to blows with his recently unemployed father Malik (Kulvinder Ghir). Malik insists that he brought the family to the UK so that Javed could get a respectable job, not throw everything away to pursue a career in writing. With the story based in troubling times in the country’s history, this conflict only adds to the drama of the piece as a whole.

Music plays a big part in this movie, both as a soundtrack and in more classically ‘musical’ moments. Whether it be singing in the streets or causing chaos in school, the music of Bruce Springsteen provides the perfect backdrop, both inspiring Javed to follow his dreams and driving the action forwards.

‘Blinded by the Light’ is a breath of fresh air, providing a lovely escape from reality for a couple of hours (which is, quite honestly, needed at the moment) and leaves you with a number of great songs stuck in your heads. The performances are likeable and the characters believable, and you find yourself really rooting for Javed and wanting to see him achieve his dreams.

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