Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend it Like Beckham, delivers another lively character study with Blinded By the Light, a period piece set in England,1987. 16-year-old Pakistani immigrant Javed (Viveik Kalra) lives in the industrial town of Luton with his parents, Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) and Noor (Meera Ganatra). A factory worker for years, Malik now finds himself out of work, forced to rely on his wife’s sewing to make ends meet. Javed is an aspiring writer. He fills notebooks with poetry and lyrics, for his best friend Matt (Dean-Charles Chapman), an aspiring rocker. As Javed starts the year at a new school, he struggles to fit in with his peers and meet the traditional expectations of his stern father.
Based on “Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll,” a memoir by Pakistani journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, though it add a characters and takes liberties with certain situations to make it work as a film, Manzoor co-wrote the script alongside Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges, making sure the themes at the heart of his story remained intact.
A clash of generations between an artistic son and a traditional father, Malik sees little value in his Javed’s love of writing and pushes him toward a more practical career in economics; not something Javed is interested in at all. One day, Javed knows he wants to be a writer, but his confidence waivers. Three things help to change that. The first is a new English teacher, Ms. Clay (Hayley Atwell), who takes a real interest in his writing. The second is the attention of a girl named Eliza (Nell Williams). The third is when a classmate and Bruce Springsteen fan lends him cassettes of Born in the USA and Darkness on the Edge of Town. As the first Springsteen song, “Dancing in the Dark” attempts to show with accompanying visuals, Javed quickly realizes that Springsteen, a guy from New Jersey, can express the feelings of a Pakistani immigrant in the UK. In a few scenes like this one, the songs are allowed to help tell Javed’s story. Important parts of the lyrics appear on screen as he moves from room to room around his house. We see the hardships that he and his family are going through to make ends meet. Javed becomes more determined than ever to leave Luton and attend university in Manchester.
At nearly two hours in length, the film does feel a bit a bit redundant at times. It feels like cutting ten or fifteen minutes could have tightened things up a bit. Even so, if you’re a fan of coming-of-age films and/or Bruce Springsteen songs, Blinded By the Light is worth a look.
Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Warner’s 1080p presentation offers a top-notch image. Sharpness is on point, with no apparent softness. There are no print flaws to mar the proceedings. Colors look appropriately bright and bold. Blacks are dark and deep; shadows demonstrated nice smoothness.
The Dolby Atmos mix allows for an open soundfield. Musical segments are particularly immersive. Dialogue is always clean, clear and concise. Every speaker is used in a very natural manner. That track won’t shake the room, but it presents the material in an effective way.
English, English SDH, French, Latin, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Memoir to Movie (HD, 6:10) Director Gurinder Chadha, co-writer/author Sarfraz Manzoor, and actor Viveik Kalra comment on the story, characters, changes from the book, and more.
- The Most Crazy Thing (HD, 6:55) Chadha and Manzoor discuss Springsteen’s impact on their lives, his cooperation with the film and thematic elements.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (HD, 9:48) Three in total.
- Digital Code.
Blinded By the Light (2019)
Movie title: Blinded By the Light
Director(s): Gurinder Chadha
Actor(s): Kulvinder Ghir, Dean-Charles Chapman , Rob Brydon,, Hayley Atwell, Sally Phillips, Raj Awasti
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama