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Movie review: ‘Springsteen & I’

Posted 3:56pm on Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013

Unrated, 80 min.


There are umpteen documentaries about musicians, but what about those in the audience?

It’s an imbalance Springsteen & I strives to correct, with its focus squarely upon the fans: “Bruce Springsteen fans were asked to make films describing what Springsteen and his music means to them,” reads an opening title card.

Assembled from submissions gathered over two weeks last year, director Baillie Walsh quickly establishes a rhythm that endures for the entire run time.

A die-hard Springsteen fan offers a testimonial to the man’s greatness — random acts of generosity, whether it’s a street busker who gets to perform with Springsteen or an English fan suddenly escorted to the front row, is a common thread — and then a piece of live concert footage provides a transition.

For those who live and breathe the Boss, the brief run time will probably seem like a tease, but for those who enjoy the rock legend’s music in smaller doses, even this brief documentary may test the limits.

Indeed, how moving you find these particular stories assembled for Springsteen & I has a lot to do with your tolerance for the mythology cultivated by the New Jersey rocker. The film is nothing if not a testament to the bond forged between the man and his fans. To that end, Walsh’s film could use a little counterweight, to mitigate the hagiographic feel.

That said, Springsteen & I saves its most powerful sequence for last, so be sure to stay put for the astonishing end-credits sequence, where Walsh cuts across the decades, using various clips of the Springsteen staple Born To Run and observing that time marches on but the music stays the same.

Suddenly, you see why Springsteen has endured for more than 40 years — and why he inspires such fierce devotion.

‘Springsteen & I’ is playing at various theaters in Tarrant, Dallas, and Collin counties at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 7:30 p.m. July 30. For a list, go to fathomevents.com

— Preston Jones, DFW.com

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