‘High Fidelity’ Blu-ray Review
It doesn’t seem to matter what John Cusack makes, I almost always love it. Be it ‘Say Anything…’, ’1408′, ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’, or even ‘America’s Sweethearts’, there’s always something in his movies, or about his movies, that I enjoy. So you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that I love ‘High Fidelity’, which I consider not only a great comedy, but one of Cusack’s best performances in his career. The movie is a bit John Hughes-like, but more slanted at adults than teenagers. The movie is full of heart, wit, humor, and fun, while also being sort of an oddball. Luckily for me, Disney decided to give the film the high definition treatment this year, and the results couldn’t be better.
Based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby and directed by Stephen Frears, ‘High Fidelity’ follows Rob Gordon (John Cusack), a cynical man towards love and a bit towards life, as he deals with his breakup with his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle). The breakup really couldn’t be going any worse for him, but he decides he can get the best of this breakup. Rob runs a record store in Chicago, with his two employees, the mild mannered and quiet Dick (Todd Louiso), and the loud and obnoxious Barry (Jack Black). Neither of them are really helping his situation, and when Rob realizes he may be stuck in a rut and that he wants Laura back and wants to turn his life around, his life, and all those around him, becomes a mess of comedy and drama. Can Rob start his own record label? Will he win the girl of his dreams back? Frankly, I don’t want to spoil it for you, because it’s much more fun to watch as it plays out.
The fascinating thing about ‘High Fidelity’, at least for me, is the film is almost an unofficial sequel to ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. I find that Rob and Ferris are very similar characters, albeit Rob is a bit more cynical, but they both share the same go get it attitude towards life, while spouting off many little anecdotes about life and how to live it. They frequently talk to the audience, knowing we’re there, and breaking the fourth wall. It’s actually kinda funny really, because John Cusack was originally eyed by John Hughes for the role of Ferris. But here, Cusack does an amazing job as Rob. He’s a bit of a hopeless romantic, even if he is a bit of a cynic at the same time. I love his character, and the way he ticks. The way Cusack talks and delivers the lines is just so pitch perfect, it’s hard not to love the character, even if he isn’t the worlds nicest guy. There’s just so much to love about the character, and he transforms so much from beginning to end, that makes the character that much more interesting and enduring to me. A character with a good story arch is always something I like to see, and Rob delivers that in spades.
But the movie isn’t elevated just by Cusack alone. He’s supported by some excellent actors along the way that really play off him and the character to an excellent degree. I really like Jack Black’s character, Barry. This was an earlier role for Black, and he really shines and steals the scenes he’s in with Cusack and Louiso. He just chews up the scenes in only the way he can, and it really was our first great look into how he would become in his later roles, something he excels at. I really like Iben Hjejle as well as her turn as Laura. She’s a got excellent chemistry with Cusack, and you could really believe these two were once in love, and you can actually feel the damage and pain between them as they try and work it out. Her performance is really something special, because she gets to act so many different ways, and so much of it is small and subtle, you can’t help but feel for her. She definitely stands out in my mind when I think of the film. Louiso is also quite good as Dick, and even for a mild mannered character, he’s still memorable. That’s the great thing about not only the script, but the performances that Frears was able to get out of his cast. There’s a lot of subtly to them, which really makes them stronger. I can’t forget to mention the excellent small roles of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tim Robbins, and Joan Cusack in their small scene stealing roles. They don’t have a lot of time, but their scenes are definitely memorable and they’re great in them.
Once again, Disney did a bang up job on the technical side with this blu-ray release. ‘High Fidelity’ debuts with a very beautiful and solid transfer that really makes the movie shine. It’s clear of any problems that have plagued it’s DVD counterpart in the past, and frankly, it couldn’t look any better. There’s not really any shots that are soft either, which is great. The movie was released in 2000, so at twelve years old, I’m very impressed with how good the movie looks. I couldn’t help but be in awe of how good it looks. I was used to my DVD version of the film, and this one blows it out of the water. It’s just a fantastic looking disc. The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track is no slouch either. For a movie that is music heavy, it’s great to see it get an amazing audio track like this. It really brings the music to life like never before. The dialogue is also very crisp, clean, and clear, showing how fantastic the DTS track is. The blu-ray also comes with two special features, a small feature with John Cusack and director Stephen Frears, which is a fun little feature that gives a nice insight into the movie. It also has a few deleted scenes, not really amounting to too much, and they aren’t really anything that I’m sad to see cut. But it’s always good to have a few more minutes to watch to spend with these characters, so for that, I’m grateful.
‘High Fidelity’ is a fantastic film with great performances, an excellent soundtrack, and more heart and humor than many movies can dream of having. Spearheaded by Cusack’s outstanding performance as Rob, this is one movie that can’t be missed. Thankfully for us, Disney has given the film an excellent blu-ray release with a fantastic transfer, strong audio track, and a few special features. I’m really glad to see this film treated so well, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It’s definitely worth a pick up, and fans of the film are sure to be pleased. If you haven’t seen the film, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a great movie and definitely deserves your attention.
- ‘High Fidelity’ Comes to Blu-ray August 7, 2012 (chipandco.com)
- ‘Grosse Point Blank’ Comes to Blu-ray August 7, 2012 (chipandco.com)