October 29, 2019

Review Blinded by the Light (2019)


#BlindedByTheLight (2019): 5/10

Inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, and based on Manzoor’s memoir “Greetings From Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll”, Blinded By The Light is the latest film from Gurinder Chadha (‘Bend It Like Beckham’), the story of a young British-Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in the English town of Luton in the 1980’s, struggling to find a balance between his strict Muslim background and the liberal western world around him, Javed’s life changing forever after he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen.

The film is top-heavy in Springsteen’s music, which will no doubt please his fans; his lyrics painted on-screen during many-a-montage. Unfortunately this doesn’t do enough to distract us away from the fact that the film regularly lacks in the acting department with some undeniably cringeworthy scenes and cheesy dialogue, often far too on the nose, and not really helped with some hot and cold performances from the film’s main protagonists. Regrettably Viveik Kalra, who plays Javed, just doesn’t possess the fire in his performance to carry the film.

The film does take a while to get going also, but once it does, the film improves. There are touching moments between Javed and sister Shazia, and as the plot unfolds, so does the tense relationship with father Malik, which comes to an explosive head. We also bear witness to the darker side of cultural division, with ugly clashes between Muslims and far-right protestors. All in all, a mixed bag.

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