I’ve been waiting quite some time to see Grand Piano, an English language but Spanish produced film that was initially described to me as bomb-on-a-bus thriller Speed, but with a piano.
Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, a revered concert pianist who returns to the stage after a five year absence, due to a previously catastrophic performance. Suffering from a great deal of stage fright and anxiety, this is only heightened when he finds a note amongst his sheet music threatening him and his wife with a bullet if he plays a wrong note.
A straight forward and frankly ludicrous plot, Grand Piano is far from a game changer. It’s neither as memorable or as exciting as I had hoped, but it’s not a complete disaster.
Feeling very much like a love letter to Hitchcock, the direction from Eugenio Miro is solid, using photography and inventive camerawork to build tension. What’s most impressive is its use of sound, using the diegetic music from the concert to create an atmospheric score at the same time.
Technically brilliant but sparse on story, attempts at dealing with themes of fame and celebrity are somewhat needless, and fall at the way side. A confusion of genres seems present, with it stumbling into slasher territory at times.
I didn’t hate Grand Piano and don’t think there’s much to dislike. The cast are great, particularly the aforementioned Wood and John Cusack as the menacing antagonist. It’s great to look at and runs at a tightly wound 90 minute three act structure; I just expected more from such a high concept idea.
On a whole, it’s well orchestrated but hits a few bum notes along the way. Available now on demand and on the big screen, it’s not worth a trip to the cinema but makes an interesting Saturday night rental.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com