The Boss. Born in the USA. New Jersey. Each one of these things are highly identified with Rock ‘N’ Roll icon Bruce Springsteen. What isn’t identified with Springsteen is peace, tranquility and outdoor western landscape.
Western Stars is part doc, part concert and part coming to terms with a turbulently, self-destructive past that could’ve easily derailed his life and career. With Western Stars, Springsteen baths himself into the identities of various characters (a stuntman, cowboy after his Hollywood heyday among others) who all strikingly mirror his own life, heartbreak and inner turmoil.
I couldn’t get past this haunting feeling that his reflection was very reminiscent of the eeriness which engulfed the Glen Campbell doc I’ll Be Me. Especially when Bruce uses Rhinestone Cowboy as his encore. The 1975 hit may be worlds away from the rocker, but like Campbell provides strong storytelling drawing us in and keep us engaged from one heartbreaking moment to the next.
The most beautiful moment of them all is the duet with his wife of 31 years Patti Scialfa where the tenderness of their relationship scorches right through the screen.
While numerous legendary performers have opted for farewell tours and Vegas residencies, I kinda dig the fact that Bruce used the medium of film and the Broadway stage (Springsteen on Broadway) to write, direct and produce with his life long collaborator Thom Zimny doing what he does best. With this companion piece to his studio album, Western Stars lets the music do the talking. Produced in tandem with Warner Brothers Pictures and Jon Landau, Western Stars is now available via DVD and Blu-ray.