Plot: What’s it about?
Paul Ashworth (Colin Firth) seems like your normal English teacher, but an obsession is hidden beneath his calm surface. Is he a serial killer? Perhaps a stalker of some sort? No, but his passion for the sport of soccer and his local team, Arsenal, could be seen as a little unhealthy sometimes. He lives to watch his team as they dominate the field, but even when they’re down in the numbers, he still cheers them on without hesitation. He knows his love for the game and his team might be a little much, but he never thinks it is too much, he just keeps on moving through each season. But when he begins to spend some time with fellow teacher Sarah Hughes (Ruth Gemmell), he starts to think that there might be more to life than kicking a ball into a goal. As time passes and the two become closer, it seems as though their relationship follows the same path as Arsenal’s team, which is rather odd. As the season comes to a close and Paul begins to make choices, what will become of their relationship?
This film garnered a lot of praise in England, but it didn’t make much noise over here until High Fidelity took off and become a small success. Based on the strength of that film, we now see Fever Pitch getting a nice stateside release, but why? Simple. Nick Hornby penned both works and since one worked out well, now it is time to try the other. But where this theory slips, is that High Fidelity was made on our shores and Fever Pitch wasn’t, which raises some problems. Of course, the main issue is the focus on soccer, which just never found a mainstream audience in this country. We tried and tried to push the sport, but it never took off like it has in Europe. This might sound like a small issue, but Fever Pitch relies on soccer a lot and as such, that might lose some viewers in the process. But thankfully, the film has more than enough material to cover that problem over, which ends up saving this one in the end. I wouldn’t say this was one of the best romantic comedies I’ve seen, but it is more than worth a look. If you’re a fan of the romantic comedy genre, then give Fever Pitch a chance, I don’t think you’ll be let down.
As I mentioned above, this screenplay was written by Nick Hornby, who also penned High Fidelity. The basic elements in both seem very much alike, but in the end, this movie features much more in terms of British influence. It seemed like High Fidelity glazed over most of the British elements to make the film work for American audiences, which I am not claiming to be a bad choice. The film was made here for the viewers here, so you can’t fault that decision in the end. But Fever Pitch was produced in England and as such, retains Hornby’s British angles on the subject matter. This cases a few problems, but on the whole, the topics are universal to us all and that makes all the difference in this case. The cast here is quite good and carries the material well, though the accents can become a little thick at times. Some of the performers present include Lorraine Ashbourne (Jack and Sarah), Neil Pearson (Privates on Parade), Ruth Gemmell (The Alchemists), Bea Guard, Holly Aird (The Theory Of Flight), and Colin Firth (Dutch Girls, Shakespeare In Love). The director of Fever Pitch is David Evans, who also helmed such films as Passion Killers, Our Boy, and Dirt.
Video: How does it look?
Fever Pitch is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Aside from some grain evident on the print, this is a very good transfer and looks much better than I expected. The grain is present in most cases, but is a minor issue and I was never distracted by it in the least. The colors look bold and rich, with no discoloration present and flesh tones seem normal as well. No issues with contrast either, as black levels look correct and no detail loss is visible at all. I saw no instances of compression errors either, an overall solid visual effort from Trimark.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes a nice 5.1 surround sound track, which provides an above average audio experience. The film’s music comes across very well here, using the surrounds to really immerse the viewer, which is cool. The sound effects make some use of the speakers, but the main focus is on subtle audio and that means the front channels handle most of the audio here. That’s not a bad thing in the least though, as that ensures a natural, pleasing overall sound. The dialogue is in fine form also, no distortion or volume issues here, a very nice mix in total. This disc also houses Spanish and English subtitles, in case you need them.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.