For those who know me, it's no secret that I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Ever since I got into music properly he's been my #1. Not only does he have what I consider to be the biggest and best discography but his songs speak to me in an overwhelmingly emotional and personal way. I find it difficult to articulate all my feelings towards his music but at the very least he was the artist who introduced me to how great an album could be. I used to just like songs on their own or greatest hits set to shuffle. But with Bruce and albums like Born To Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town, it was the first time I looked at songs as having a place and time and it made music 10x better for all my other favourite artists. Shortly after my big Springsteen obsession was when I started looking at music critically.
So it certainly looks like this documentary, Springsteen & I, is built for me. Even better, it's coming off the back of Life In A Day, a 2011 documentary I saw when it came out, immediately fell in love with and it remains in my top 10 of the year today. I feel almost honoured that its crowd-sourced footage style is being used next for a Springsteen documentary when it could've been used for anything else. I remember the day they first asked for footage and I quite regret contributing. Unfortunately I was busy at the time and I didn't have all the Bruce merchandise I wanted on me. But I am quite glad I didn't end up a part of it because it would've been rather strange to see myself. And having seen it, I see what they wanted now. They wanted the charming flaws and quirks of real people.
They keep in the outtakes. They keep in the eccentric people. They keep in the people who can't stand Bruce. They focus on people of contradictions as a young woman working on her masters degree who works as a truck driver and a middle aged man who breaks down crying while he drives. Just like the diversity of Bruce's songs, the film has its emotional ups and downs with its great sense of humour and people who are overwhelmed in trying to articulate what Bruce means to them. There's also some really entertaining anecdotes of people who've had encounters with him too which I'm glad they included and as they show people describing the events, it's matched with the concert footage. The documentary just encapsulates why I love Bruce. It's in the life he pumps into the world. How he makes everyday life feel like living life to the fullest. He brings people together. Through mutually liking his music and being together at concerts, in movies and now in movie theaters.
Unfortunately, the film is rougher and not as sharp as Life In A Day. Of course, when you have a film that's from the footage of everyday people and there's no standards of equipment, it inevitably leads to technical flaws besides the one area the director has control of - editing and structure. Although pacing can't really be controlled in each clip, the latter is the one department Springsteen & I really struggles with. But then there's no real structure to follow so it ends up as stream-of-conscience which sometimes feels like repetitive fan worship rather than cutting deep into why Bruce deserves his many fans. Fortunately Bruce's music interspersed throughout ties it all together. Non-Springsteen fans and casual fans will probably struggle through it but for the small but warm community that considers him #1, it's bliss.
Springsteen & I
Springsteen & I
For 40 years Bruce Springsteen has influenced fans from all over. His songs defined more than a generation. This film gives the fans just as much time as The Boss himself, with never shown footage and live performances from his last tour.
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November 3, 2013 at 11:33 am