Review - High Fidelity
Updated: Sep 26
High Fidelity (adapted from Nick Hornby's novel of the same name) was directed by Stephen Frears and stars John Cusack as a lonely record store owner who embarks on a quest to discover the explanation behind his five most painful breakups, including one in progress. The film also stars Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, and Jack Black.
High Fidelity is many things, but above all, it's really fun. It is an entertaining movie from start to finish, no doubt due to the combination of the energetic and hilarious performances, the witty dialogue, and the fantastic score that brings it all together.
Let's start with the performances. This element of the movie is what really turned it into an instant classic and a staple in the romantic comedy genre. John Cusack is brilliant, as per usual, but so are all of the other performers. This is partially due to the fantastic direction from Frears, of course, but mostly because of the pure energy shining from the actors. Not only that, but High Fidelity also did the world a favor by introducing Jack Black in his breakthrough role.
The acting in High Fidelity can't have been an easy task to follow, yet somehow the film pulls it off with the fantastic soundtrack. Every song choice made throughout fits pitch-perfectly with its chosen moment. It goes without saying that no section of the film would have been the same without the soundtrack.
At this point, High Fidelity must sound like a perfect film. It seems flawless in every category. But there is one glaring issue that keeps this film from getting a top score.
High Fidelity is a film adaptation, as many movies are. The movie was adapted from the previously mentioned novel written by Nick Hornby. The execution in transferring the narrative from book to screen is not perfect, however. This is the fault mostly of the screenplay.
Although the script does have many positive sides to it, from clever dialogue to the well-timed and entertaining breaking of the fourth wall, this is where the film's problems begin to crop up. There are many unnecessarily long scenes and some characters that come in and out of the narrative without adding anything to the story. The change from book to movie creates the additional formulaic story line that can work just fine as a written series of events, yet turns quickly cliche when presented visually; films are known for presenting less information and backstory to the events they present in comparison to novels.
Besides these flaws, however, High Fidelity is a great film that's a lot of fun to sit down and watch, whether you need an entertaining movie to watch with your friends or just want to enjoy a solid film.
Here at the CinemaScope, we recommend this picture.
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