American dreamer: Springsteen lays out life under Western Stars


American dreamer: Springsteen lays out life under Western Stars

Themes of love and loss endure as the Boss shares his searching stories in a cinematic directorial debut

Neil McCormick

“The older you get, the heavier the baggage becomes that you haven’t sorted through,” says Bruce Springsteen in his new concert documentary, Western Stars. “So you run. And I’ve done a lot of that kind of running.”

Springsteen turned 70 last month. On the big screen his famous face has a monumental cragginess that makes him look like he belongs on Mount Rushmore, carved in rock (and roll). Behind the wheel of a battered American pick-up he drives through the stark landscape of the Mojave Desert. “I’m still writing about cars, the people in them anyway,” he says in Western Stars. “Cars have been a powerful metaphor for me. Forty years ago they represented freedom. Today, not so much. A metaphor for movement at best. But are we moving forward? A lot of the time we’re just moving.”

Western Stars is Springsteen’s cinematic directorial debut, a feature-length companion piece to a new album of the same name. Created with his long-time collaborator Thom Zimny, editor of previous Springsteen videos and concerts, it splices live performance footage with talky interludes...

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