Title – Grand Piano (2013)
Director – Eugenio Mira (The Birthday)
Cast – Elijah Wood, Kerry Bishe, Tamsin Edgerton, Alex Winter, John Cusack, Dee Wallace
Plot – During his long awaited comeback performance, famed pianist Tom Selznick (Wood) discovers he is under the eye and gun of a mysterious man who is demanding he play a flawless recital of music so to stave off being killed or worse his famous wife Emma (Bishe) being murdered also. A dangerous game of cat, mouse and music ensues.
“Now you know the meaning of stage fright”
Review by Eddie on 15/01/2015
Despite never overcoming the ludicrousness of its central plot, Eugenio Mira’s well shot and played thriller Grand Piano is a film that largely overcomes it’s absurdness to be a watchable and enjoyable piece of drivel with some neat little acting turns and a sharp script from up and coming filmmaker/screenwriter Damian Chazelle, whose narrative feature directional debut Whiplash looks set to be one of recent year’s stand out indies.
As said during the film, Grand Piano “takes stage fright to a whole new level” in what really is Phone Booth in concert. Like any farfetched thriller the tale does take a suspension of disbelief from the viewer to find enjoyment from it and with much thought the whole idea behind why poor old nervous pianist Tom Selznick is being forced at gunpoint to play a flawless concerto piece is all types of ridiculous, without ruining a central plot point, surely the killer could’ve thought of a different way to achieve his financially driven goals? While too many questions will without question ruin the good vibe created here, there is much to sit back and enjoy, not least some finely filmed segments and some fun performances.
Mira shows himself to be a director with a nice sense of flair and occasion with many scene throughout the film displaying a keen eye for a camera trick or two and with a nicely edited pace and an ace score from composer Victor Reyes, these elements combine to make Grand Piano seem more than a TV movie of the week. The presence of a piano playing Frodo Baggins in the form of the always boyish Elijah Wood also elevates the film with Wood portraying Tom in a manner that generally makes him vulnerable yet not dislikeable while Kerry Bishe, Tamsin Edgerton and Bill Preston himself Alex Winter provide neat supports in what are all quite small roles. Fans of John Cusack who go into this expecting some time with their favourite crazy haired master will be bitterly disappointed however, as Cusack’s role is almost entirely relegated to phone conversation so don’t go in expecting a real Cusack fix.
Sure Grand Piano is silly, unbelievable and slightly too serious, but it’s also a whole lot of fun and with great production values that elevates it from the dreariness of many such films and their lacklustre failings, it’s a film that makes for some quality guilty pleasure good times.
2 and a half piano playing, tuxedo wearing Frodo’s out of 5