Culture, Entertainment, Review

Review: Blinded By The Light

0 83

By Ben Thompson

This film is based on journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock n’ Roll, and follows a Pakistani-British teenager growing up in Luton in 1987. Set against the backdrop of rising unemployment, racism and the Cold War, the film’s protagonist, Javed finds his voice through listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen.

If I’m being entirely honest, I’ve never given Springsteen’s music much attention. Of course, I knew ‘Born In The USA’ , a song which despite seeming rather patriotic on the face of it, is actually deeply critical of America. But beyond that, I wasn’t too knowledgeable of his work.

But you don’t need to be a Springsteen junkie to appreciate this film. It’s a coming-of-age story after all, with Springsteen’s music serving to provide a structure.

The performances are all top-notch, and feel wholly authentic. There were plenty of genuine laughs (Javed’s father constantly asking if Bruce Springsteen is Jewish is inexplicably funny) in addition to touching moments.

Some scenes did make me feel uncomfortable – but for the right reasons. Seeing the characters subjected to racist abuse isn’t pleasant, but it feels authentic. It would have been unrealistic to watch a film about British Pakistanis in 1980’s Britain – the era of the National Front – and to expect no scenes that would unnerve modern audiences.

My most genuine criticism of the film is actually quite complimentary, in a sense. I only wish there was more time to be spent on the side characters in Javed’s life – his friends are all entertaining characters, but sometimes feel limited.

But again, that’s a testament to the film’s writing and the performances of the actors. I would have happily watched a Netflix series going into more depth with these characters, and their interactions.

This film stuck with me in many ways – it made me think deeply about racism, about music, about family and culture. It’s not only enjoyable, it’s poignant. And it made me want to check out Springsteen’s discography.

Springsteen couldn’t have asked for a better film to bring his music to a 21st century audience.

About the author / 

Ben Thompson

Modern History student. Mostly writes about politics and social issues.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Anne Marie @ AO Arena Manchester review – A perfect and unexpected theatrical experience

    Featured Image and gallery: Ben Redshaw From West End childhood star and karate world champion to BRIT Award-winning popstar, Anne-Marie arrives at the AO Arena on the back of her third studio album, Unhealthy.  Leah Kate, an American singer best known for her post-heartbreak songs, is the opener. Kate tells the story of sliding into…

  • 5 emotional Harry Styles songs to cry to

    Featured image: Amelia Lara Del Rey Harry Styles is a man that’s hard to miss. From initially winning over our hearts in his X-Factor and One Direction days, Styles’ success has continued to grow across the release of his three Billboard Number 1 albums. He’s also recently invested in Manchester’s upcoming Co-op Live arena, set…

  • Meet the Author: Manchester Poetry Library hosts annual series featuring best-selling YA author Danielle Jawando

    Featured image: Ross Westgate The Manchester Poetry library hosted its annual ‘Meet the Author’ event series this month, featuring award-winning author and screenwriter Danielle Jawando. Born in Manchester, Jawando is the recipient of multiple literary accolades including the 2023 YA Book Prize for her most recent novel, When Our Worlds Collided. This year’s event invited…