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High Fidelity (DVD)
Member Name: Mauri
High Fidelity (DVD)
Date: 15/10/01, updated on 19/06/09 (107 review reads)
Advantages: Good Story
The main reason I decided to watch this film is John Cusack. He's a really good actor and hasn't done much wrong in his career (Grosse Point Blank, Being John Malkovic, Bullets Over Broadway, The Grifters). I have read the Nick Hornby book that the film was based on and I did love it, but I couldn't quite see how they were going to make it in to a film. When I heard that there was going to be an American version made my heart sank, it seemed to me that the story and the characters was so English in nature that transposing it in to the US would ruin it. Well I was wrong.....
John Cusack- Rob Gordon
Iben Hjejle- Laura
Todd Louiso- Dick
Jack Black - Barry
Lisa Bonet - Marie DeSalle
Catherine Zeta-Jones - Charlie Nicholson
Joan Cusack -Liz
Tim Robbins - Ian Raymond
Chris Rehmann- Vince
Ben Carr - Justin
Lili Taylor - Sarah
Joelle Carter- Penny
Natasha Gregson Wagner- Caroline
Rob Gordon is a thirty something, owner of a small select record store in Chicago, which he runs with tow fellow music nerds, Dick and Barry. Now Rob's life is comfortable enough, he loves his music and is obsessive about it, even down to the exact order the records are to be filed away. He lives with his long-term girlfriend Laura and on the surface he seems quite comfortable with his lot. However things are not all great. Laura has changed form when he first met her. She's just started a serious job and the 'rock chick' he first met has given way to a more mature woman who is thinking about the future and their relationship. Underneath all this lies Rob's grudging realisation that in many his life has been a failure. He runs the records shop but what he really wants is to be more involved in music maybe taking up DJ-ing like he used to when he first met Laura. The bottom line is that Laura has changed and wants more commitment from Rob and Rob is not prepared to give this. When Laura finally tells him that she is moving out, Rob has a crisis and decides to re-examine is life in terms of his most hurtful break-ups, all the way back to high school. He compiles a list (he's always doing this) and tries to get in touch with each of his previous girlfriends to find out why they broke up with him. Meanwhile Laura has moved in with former neighbour, Ian Raymond a sort of 'New Age/tentric lover man'. Rob hates this, partly because he can't understand why Laura would go for him and partly because he remembers the evening that he and Laura used to hear Ian making love in the apartment above theirs and now he can imagine that happening with 'his' Laura. His male pride has taken a battering.
I won't give away the ending, but I will say that Rob's journey back revisiting his previous relationship makes him realise some home truths about himself and how he feels about Laura. A traumatic event later in the film brings things to a decisive conclusion.
John Cusack is simply brilliant. He is Rob Grant, a likeable tosser who really needs to grow up and stop thinking about himself all the time. His performance strikes just the right balance between comedy and the slightly more serious aspects that the character requires.
Iben Hjejle as Laura is also very good she does convince us of the turmoil her character is feeling, she loves Rob but she also knows that if she stays with him ultimately their relationship will not work unless he changes.
The other performances that were the highlights of the film for me were those of Tim Robbins (Ian), Jack Black (Barry) and Todd Louiso (Dick)
Tim Robbins has no more than a cameo role in the film but the moments when he is on screen are the funniest. His character is intensely dislikeable and you are willing Rob to act through his fantasy of beating him up...
Jack Black and Todd Louiso, are a sort of comic double act, and the main comedy moments in the film occur in the record shop as Rob has to put up with the constant nerdy discussions on 'top ten love records' or 'top ten Monday morning records', while his life is falling apart. Black and Louiso are very funny.
The supporting cast; Lisa Bonet, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joan Cusack are also excellent. Also look out for the cameo from Bruce Springsteen.
The film's script is pretty faithful to the book in detail and the characters keep their essential features. The setting of the film in Chicago works well. What is different is the mood that the film creates. Hornby's book was a more serious bittersweet look at a man approaching a mid-life crisis and how he reacts to this. It is humorous rather than all out funny, it is a much deeper piece of work. The film is a lighter project and is primarily a comedy. It definitely plays for laughs. I think I they had tried to make the film as introspective as the book it wouldn't have worked so well.
One final plus point is the soundtrack; The book is so much about how music can relate to the feelings and moods of a particular time that for any film to work it would have to be brilliant... and it really was, capturing perfectly the atmosphere of the film.
1.A Town Called Malice - The Jam
2. You're Gonna Miss Me - Thirteenth Floor Elevators
3. Cold Blooded Old Times - Smog
4. I'm Gonna Love You a Little More Babe - Barry White
5. Who Loves the Sun - Velvet Underground
6. Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
7. Dry the Rain - The Beta Band
8. Shipbuilding - Elvis Costello & the Attractions
9. Fallen For You - Sheila Nicholls
10. Oh! Sweet Nuthin' - Velvet Underground
11. Most of the Time - Bob Dylan
12. Lo Boob Oscillator - Stereolab
13. Everybody's Gonna Be Happy - The Kinks
14. Let's Get it On - Jack Black
15. I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) - Stevie Wonder
I wouldn't say the film was better than the book, I don't think they should be compared directly. I will just say that I enjoyed it just as much for different reasons and I would advise anyone to watch it, you won't be disappointed.
Summary: Good US adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel