on 16 October 2011
I have heard of this film for many years, it's one of those films that keep on popping up in "all time greatest movie" lists. But although I was always completely aware of it, I never really knew what it was about.
At face value, High Fidelity looks like a movie about the girl troubles of a 30-something record collector obsessing over his most recent breakup, but just below the surface is a witty but knowing story about a man slowly waking up to the fact that he's been emotionally stuck in adolescence and realizes it's time to start acting like an adult (which means accepting the knowledge that there's more to know about his partner than what records she likes).
When I found out that the book this film is based on is by Nick Hornby I realised what I found so likable, as one of my all time top favourite films is "About a Boy", another Hornby adaptation.
While one doesn't have to be a music buff to enjoy the movie, they've packed the film with enough knowing musical references to satisfy even the most cynical hipster; anyone who has spent much time in a used record store will feel right at home at Championship Vinyl. And though Cusack's performance, funny and charming but with enough bile to give him a few sharp edges, dominates the film, the supporting cast, especially Jack Black, really does hold it's own.
Although they are all arrogant hipster nerds, High Fidelity's characters have just enough depth so that they seem genuine and believable, and there's a lot to be learned from the lessons about struggles with romance and maturity, even if you don't know (or care) how much a French pressing of Captain Beefheart's Safe As Milk fetches these days.
A great film that is reminiscent of films like "About a Boy" and "Alfie" just a little less sentimental and a little more man friendly.
A bloke flick - exploring the emotional wreckage of a man coming to terms with rejection. We've seen it many a time with a female lead, but now we get to see it from a mans point of view.
Cussack brings energy to a role which is pretty, well... unenergetic. This is a slow burning film, and you often don't realise that you're enjoying it until it's finished. It's a cultural gem with top five lists galore and some fantastic music - but being set in a music shop, I suppose you expect that.
Rob (Cussack) provides narration throughout the film, so we always get an insight as to what he is thinking, and perhaps more importantly; what he is feeling. His story is an interesting one, although not particularly eventful, it is insightful. The comedy isn't thick and fast, but when it's there, it's good. All men can identify with Rob, even if they haven't had the same sort experiences, they will no doubt have had the same insecurities at some point.
People often say that any film with Jack Black in is bound to be a good one - I'm a Jack Black sceptic though and I can't say I enjoy all of his roles. But here he shines. His over-the-top socially inept 'Barry' with with holier than thou philosophy on music provides many of the films lighter moments, and along with Dick (Todd Louiso), Rob has a comedy duo to counter his dark lamenting.
So, in a nutshell: an emotional journey exposing the mindset of a thirty-something male who is dumped. Slow but steady, this is a film that deals with love, loss, and relationships - but feels blokey with it. The film never delves into the mushy depths of cheesiness, it keeps it's dignity and the slick writing oils the tracks to ensure you never lose interest.
This for me is John Cusack's best film, and you could say this film put Jack Black on the map, and what I love about this film is the soundtrack, it is just brilliant.
This is a great film and well worth a watch, plus the picture plus sound is very nice. Its such a shame there is no uk edition, it seems to take ages for certain films to get their blu-ray release, no wonder we have to buy US region free Blu-rays.
on 5 April 2001
Not many books translate well onto the screen, and even fewer from one culture to another, but High Fidelity has been beautifully adapted to fit into the American culture. The casting is brilliant; each actor delivers a rich and memorable performance and you will find yourself quoting the script for weeks after. John Cussack plays the obsessive and over-analytical owner of a retro record store. When his girlfriend moves out because he can't commit, he becomes moody and self-critical and tracks down all his ex girlfriends. So begins his familiar trip into the past to find out why everyone seems to dump him... All performances are inspiring, and there are some noteworthy cameos. The scenes that take place in the record store are a stroke of genius. The only danger is that after watching this film, you will spend a ridiculous amount of time making and remaking 'Top Five' lists.
on 31 May 2015
Based on a NICK HORNBY best-selling novel, HIGH FIDELITY stars JOHN CUSACK as Rob, a young man in crisis when his girlfriend Laura (the lovely IBEN HJEJLE) walks out on him.
Devastated, Rob seeks solace at the vintage record shop which he owns and seeks refuge with colleagues Dick (TODD LOUISO) and Barry (JACK BLACK). Here, he looks back at his previous failed relationships, including Sarah (CATHERINE ZETA-JONES) and Lily (LILI TAYLOR).
Talking directly to the camera, Rob allows us into his life and it slowly falls apart around him. He desperately wants Laura back but is suspicious of a tenant in the block where she now lives, believing Ian (TIM ROBBINS) will woo her away for good.
Can Rob successfully repair his broken relationship with Laura and bring his life finally back on track?
I found HIGH FIDELITY to be a good but dark comedy and anybody wishing for a typical, fluffy rom-com is likely to be disappointed. All the cast do very well and although BLACK has a tendency to go over the top at times (as is his quirky style), LOUISO plays the nerd-like Dick to perfection. CUSACK is always watchable and I enjoyed seeing HJEJLE in her pre-ANNA PIHL days. There is even a very brief cameo from music legend BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, too!
Special Features include the Original Theatrical Trailer, 9 cut scenes (21 minutes in length) and a segmented, 9 part conversation with CUSACK and Director, STEPHEN FREARS running to 40 minutes in total.
All in all, I believe most views will enjoy this film and, it being set in a vintage record store for much of the running time, revel in the varied and extensive musical soundtrack as well.
Either the world is getting weirder or I'm finally starting to recede toward normality, as High Fidelity actually plays at a level I can relate to. Now, there's no shortage of films like this - man enters 30s and has to finally grow up, doesn't have a clue about love or life, and tries to figure everything out and get his girl back in the process. Surprisingly, most of these films are pretty good. High Fidelity is excellent. It has a compelling, human, believable story, lots of comedy (much of it high-brow disguised as common), a great cast, and all kinds of great music that could really be described as a passable soundtrack to life itself.
John Cusack plays Rob Gordon, a pretty normal guy who happens to be living in an emotional bubble - and it has just burst. His girlfriend of the past two years, Laura (Iben Hjejle) has just left him, triggering a sort of early midlife crisis in his life. Rob doesn't like change. He runs a record shop with the help of two guys even weirder than he is - Dick (Todd Louiso), a shy, bumbling, Moby-like guy and Barry (Jack Black), who never fails to entertain. The guys like to expound upon their musical knowledge, usually in the form of top five lists of everything. Rob has top five lists for everything, including his most traumatic breakups. He tries to pretend that his recent breakup with Laura isn't top five material, although it obviously is - especially when he learns she seems to have left him for Ian (Tim Robbins), the schmaltzy pseudo-loverboy upstairs. He simply must know why Laura dumped him, and that sends him down memory lane thinking about all of the other girls that dumped him through the years - going all the way back to junior high. Seeing some of these women again, including a beautiful yet shallow ex-flame played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, he gets a whole new perspective on life. Not completely, though, as he's still tearing his heart out over Laura and engaging in some activities that could be construed as harassing in nature.
For an ex-couple, he and Laura seem to stay in touch a great deal, as she's always coming over to get more of her stuff, calling him on the phone, etc. (For his part, Rob also spends an inordinate amount of time out in the pouring rain.) As time passes, Rob comes to evaluate his real feelings for Laura, even as he hopes to somehow get her back, and comes to know himself a lot better in the process. He never really figures things out, nor does he truly reinvent himself, but he matures. He's going to be OK - no matter how things work out with Laura in the end.
Basically, this is a romantic comedy for guys. For once, guys won't have to sleep through a sappy love story their better halves force them to watch; Rob is sort of speaking for guys as a whole here. There's plenty of dry, witty humor to keep you sustained, much of it supplied by Jack Black, and you might even find yourself wanting to watch the whole film over again. Plus, it features not one but two Bob Dylan tracks, so you know it must have something going for it.
on 8 February 2010
I think this a very good film, i really like John Cusack and this is one of the few films that actually uses him well, maybe i'm wrong but i give credit for that to Stephen Frears, the director, who has rather a good track record with actors. But then maybe John Cusack is just always good, he's reliable like that, he's just in a lot of bad films..
Anyway, ...actually, thinking about the actors, this is one of the few films where i like Jack Black, there are a lot of other good characters and actors in it too.
Well, anyway.. I just think it's a really good entertaining film, it has a couple of truths, which are washed down with a nice ending, awesome music, and lots of humour. But i don't think it's meant to be thought of as bringing truth to the world, it's a feel good movie, for guys. And it's cool attitude, it's little asides to the camera, the flashbacks and cross-cuttings, the endless top fives, and the girls! All just fit together really well, and make it a film that you can watch again and again. Maybe it won't do you any good to watch it constantly, but you could..!
on 5 April 2001
I enjoyed this film from the opening credits, right through to the last. The film rollercoasters through the many past relationships of the main character Rob (Cusack) and is kept on track by some fine performances. The scenes in Championship Vinyl (Cusack's record store) are genius in themselves and the pace of the film keeps the viewer hooked. I had never read the book so wasn't too concerned over the location change to Chicago. A real gem for fans of film and music alike with a great soundtrack also thrown in for good measure!
on 11 July 2011
In essence, this is a film about love. It focusses on the failing relationship between record store owner and cynic Rob (Cusack) and his beautiful estranged girlfriend Laura (Hjejle). Rob goes through emotional maelstroms, revelations occur, blah blah. So far, so run of the mill, you might say.
You couldn't be more wrong. Although the story is perhaps cliched in essence, it's the details that really give the film its edge. The additional storyline plots, the unusual commentative style of Cusack and the superb performances of a wonderful cast (notably Jack Black, effectively auditioning for his part in School of Rock) all come together to produce a story in which the viewer is immersed and desperately wants to end well. And even the ending, which so often lets this ilk of film down, is well conceived and poignant, rather than saccharine and dull.
It's funny, it's emotive, it's even enlightening. A film for everyone, for any time and for any occasion. It's on so many of my top 5 lists.
on 4 November 2009
One of the greatest films since the turn of the Millenium. Hornby's book comes to life fantastically with John Cusack taking the lead roll with great humour and timing as main character Rob. Rob is a character with whom the audience are meant to relate to and Hornby's writing about life, music and realtionships accomplishes this.
This was the Jack Black's breakthrough performance in terms of being really known in the comedy world, and he fully took that opportunity, as sarcastic but likeable Barry. Cusack's one-on-one conversations with the audience, breaking the '4th Wall' element of film, gave the film a chance to stay close to the ideas and details within the book. Superb ending with Barry singing Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' was just one of the great musical moments you'd expect from the soundtrack of a film involving three men working in a music store discussing music all day. 5 out of 5, and in my opinion the sort of film you can watch time and time again but never tire of.