Bruce Springsteen. Letter to You (Apple TV Plus.)Review.

For Bruce Springsteen’s previous solo album Western Stars he and director Thom Zimny put together an accompanying film. This was made up of a concert performing the album with full orchestral backing and interlude sections with Springsteen talking about his creative process. The interludes might be a little derivative but the performance itself was stunning (especially if fans were lucky enough to see it theatrically.)For his newest album Letter to You the two have collaborated again and produced something very similar. This time it is short in very stylistic black and white with interludes focusing on Springsteen and his interpersonal relationships with the surviving members of the E Street Band. The performances from Letter to You itself appear to simply be the studio mixes with footage of the recording sessions edited over it (this technique has also been used for some of the albums lyric videos.)Given that the world is currently still in a global pandemic this seems like a good way to produce another film that will satisfy fans and allow people to hear the new album with some accompanying visuals. It’s great to have an insight into Springsteen’s creative process and the interpersonal interludes are far more interesting from a fan’s perspective than the ones from the Western Stars film. Granted the one advantage that film has over the newest entry were the exclusive orchestral mixes they took advantage of the theatrical presentation (as well as presenting the accompanying album in a new form.) That said films like this are probably a better fit for streaming as opposed to adopting an inflated price strategy for a very limited theatrical run. As a critic and fan who had not yet heard the new album, the film was a good way to knock out two birds with one sounds exactly like one would expect from a later period Springsteen record.
It’s hard to review films like this beyond looking at whether any elements of the presentation will annoy the fans who are the main audiences for performance films like this one. Zimny and Springsteen are very safe pair of hands even if the film doesn’t offer any great diversion from the concert film for Springsteen’s previous album. It’s nothing worth investing in Apple TV Plus for (especially when the platform is still so bereft of content that would retain audiences beyond a free trial.) If a fan or critic was interested in hearing Letter to You performed in its entirety useing a visual medium the film provides exactly that.

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