Blinded by the Light Review
Dan Skip Allen
Javed, portrayed by Viveik Kalra, is a shy Pakistani teen who lives in Luton, a town in England, in 1987. He is dealing with racial unrest by the locals and peer pressure to be a hard working successful man from his overbearing father, portrayed by Kulvinder Ghir. When a student in his school introduces him to the music of Bruce Springstien this changes his life irrevocably. He opens up in new and wonderful ways. He writes poetry as a way to be free of everything in his life. Little does he know this will help change it for the better in many ways.
An ensemble cast of terrific co-stars fill out the cast. From Ms. Clay, Javid’s english teacher, portrayed by Hailey Atwell, (best known as Agent Carter in the MCU Films), to Nell Williams, who portrays Eliza,Javed’s girlfriend, to Dean Charles Chapman, who portrays Matt Javed’s neighbor. The cast goes on and on and every character has a role to play in this fantastic story of finding one’s identity and direction in life.
This summer has been an interesting one. We have gotten some great films about musicians and their music. Whether it be the Elton John Biopic Rocketman, or the timewinding story in Yesterday that deals with the forgotten Beatles catalogue, or Wild Rose dealing with an aspiring country music singer. Blinded by the Light is the best of them all. It deals with the songs of Asbury Park’s very own Bruce Springstien. These songs are the means to Javed’s new lease on life. They inspire him in incredible ways. Regarding his relationships with his family, friends and his passion for writing. The music just speaks to him.
The combination of the script by Sarfraz Manzour and the direction by Gurindor Chadra, most famous for her Soccer film Bend it like Beckham, are the driving force that makes this film so incredible. The weaving of so many story beats and plot points could have gone very wrong in another directors and writer’s hands. Not this duo! They work together to tell a heartwarming story of discovering one’s self through music and words. This is a perfect film in every sense of the word. Using Bruce Springstiens lyrics as a way to get into Javed’s head is masterful. Songs such as Because the Night, Born to Run, Promised Land and so many others are littered throughout the film.
Viveik Kalra is a relatively unknown actor here in the US. I didn’t know what to expect from him regarding his performance as Javed. He blew me away with his emotion and tragic portrayal at times. His humor, honesty and down to earth nature were evident in his performance from the very beginning. This film works because of his performance.
Blinded by the Light is the best film I’ve seen so far this year! It has so much to say about society and the world we live in today. It’s so relatable to people of all walks of life. The overbearing father, trying to be somebody your not, not being what others want regarding your color, creed or religion, finding your voice and finding your place in society. This film deals with so many things yet doesn’t lose itself in any of it. The direction and writing are first rate. I would not be surprised to see Academy Awards nominations in the future for this film. It’s incredible in every sense of the word. I also have a new appreciation for the songs of Bruce Springstein and I’m glad for that. I was absolutely blown away by this film!
Dan Skip Allen