Remember the John Cusack of the late '90s? He had been one of the beloved teens from the '80s, from Sixteen Candles to Say Anything... He continued to work steadily through the years, but it wasn't until 1997 that he found his resurgence with the double-tough whammy of Grosse Point Blank and Con Air. By the end of the decade, Cusack was Being John Malkovich, and as we turned to the double-zero, he became Rob Gordon in High Fidelity.

It was the role that seemed like it was made just for him, one that so easily could have failed in anyone else's hands. Here we have the story of a slacker striving to not reach his potential. He's prone to childish bursts of rage intermingled with pitiful weeping and desperation, and in fact, much of the film just outlines exactly how crappy he is. But Cusack commands it in a way that we follow. He makes a risky voice-over work flawlessly, and rather than making him an antihero we love, he's a knowledgeable but messed-up protagonist we love to watch.

There's not much that could have been improved on. The music is alternative, yet nostalgic, mixing obvious choices and beloved hits with off-the-beaten-track melodies from the likes of The Beta Band. Jack Black is spot-on as the overzealous employee, just as Todd Louiso thrives as the awkward, oft-silenced music lover. Joan Cusack, Lili Taylor, and even Catherine Zeta-Jones bring occasional sparks to Rob's snarky tale, and if he had any sort of chemistry with his on-screen love Iben Hjejle, the whole affair would've been irresistible.

Nevertheless, it remains a great flick that encapsulates the music and life of a time long gone. So,

Head over to SlashControl and reminisce with High Fidelity!
categories Features, Cinematical