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

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.