Grand Piano

"Very Good"

Grand Piano Review


Spanish director Eugenio Mira combines slick filmmaking with a dark and nasty plot as this fast-paced thriller unfolds almost in real time. So even if the premise doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny, it's packed with characters and twists that keep the audience glued to the screen as the mystery charges inexorably forward. Suspense comes in some gruesome surprises along the way, as well as in the actors' urgent performances.

The film opens as Tom (Elijah Wood) heads to Chicago for his first piano performance in five years, organised by his movie-star wife Emma (Kerry Bishe). She's even flown in the custom piano owned by Tom's late mentor, whose fortune mysteriously vanished after he died (cue an ominous chord!). Despite enormous pressure from the press and his fans, Tom is quietly confident about his long-awaited return to the stage. An old friend (Don McManus) is conducting tonight, and his assistant (Alex Winter) has everything under control. Then just as he begins to play Tom sees words in red ink on his score: "Play one note wrong and you die!" Using an earpiece and a laser gunsight, an angry fan (John Cusack) leads Tom on a wild cat-and-mouse game right through the performance.

Yes, the idea is pretty preposterous, and not just because Tom can play outrageously complicated pieces note-perfect while a maniac shouts in his ear. Tom even manages to make phone calls and send text messages while playing, darting off-stage to crank up suspense along the way. The main threat is against his wife, whose demanding friend (Tamsin Egerton) and her browbeaten husband (Allen Leech) also get involved in the mayhem, which no one else in the theatre seems to notice until the over-the-top finale. But through all of this, Mira directs with a Hitchcockian grip on the suspense, deploying gallows humour, sweeping camerawork, dramatic music and complex long takes tighten the screws.

There are also several side-dramas along the way, as well as the tantalising hint that this all might be happening in Tom's stressed-out mind. Wood gives a superbly straight-faced performance as a prodigy struggling to come back from a very public failure. His internal journey of personal redemption is the strongest element in the film. Meanwhile, Cusack adds nonstop menace mainly with just his voice. And all of the actors find emotional notes to make the characters engaging. So even as the plot gets rather convoluted and silly, there's plenty going on to keep viewers thoroughly entertained, proving the script's point that the audience rarely notices when you hit a bad note.



Grand Piano

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th October 2013

Box Office USA: $22.4k

Distributed by: Magnet Releasing

Production compaines: Nostromo Pictures, Telefónica Producciones

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eugenio Mira

Producer: Rodrigo Cortes, Adrian Guerra

Starring: as Tom Selznick, as Clem, as Ashley, as Wayne, as Emma Selznick, as Assistant, Dee Wallace as Marjorie Green, Don McManus as Reisinger, Stephanie Garvin as Theatre Guest, Mino Mackic as Theater Security, Christopher Kahler as Squinchy - The Lords of Uifam band member, Benjamin Nathan-Serio as Usher, Beth Trollan as Emma's Publicist

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