- Summary -
Director : Eugenio Mira
Year Of Release : 2013
Principal Cast : Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Tamsin Egerton, Kerry Bishe, Allen Leech, Alex Winter, Don McManus.
Approx Running Time : 90 Minutes
Synopsis: Returning to the stage after a five year absence, an acclaimed concert pianist finds himself in the gunsights of an assassin who wants him to play the concert of his life.
What we think : While it staggers through an implausible mid-section, and doesn’t end with quite the flourish one might expect from a pulp-fiction thriller such as this, Grand Piano will hold your interest and maintain your excitement right up to the last frame – it’s the kind of film I wish Elijah Wood would make more of, just quietly, even though it’s a largely forgettable affair that never last long in the mind once its over. Director Mira wrings every nuance of potential (and then some) from the interesting premise, and – plot chasms notwithstanding – makes this film vastly entertaining in the B-movie style.
So you’re an acclaimed concert pianist? Think you know stress? The stress of performing some of the worlds most complicated and difficult piano compositions, usually to an agog audience who will know if you hit a bum note? Then you’re best off not watching Grand Piano, an exercise in thrills with the backdrop of sublime orchestral sonics and a deft touch of death. Grand Piano was described by my buddy Dan O’Neill as “Speed with an orchestra”, and while I think Dan became a little over-enthusiastic with his praise, don’t mistake my marginal disagreement with his assessment cloud the end product of this review – this is a film worth a look. There’s no Keanu Reeves, no exploding buses, or even sexy Sandra Bullocks anywhere to be found here, but what you will get is a terrific little set-piece that delivers some nice twists, excellent tension, and an exemplary example of how to bring a redonkulous plot, gasping-at-straws concept, and severely implausible characters together in a way that still grabs your attention for the time it lasts. If I was to come up with my own parallel for Grand Piano, it would be “Phone Booth at a piano”. Hmm, probably needed to think a bit harder about that. Still, the echoes of Joel Schumacher’s “single-setting” film resound here, as Elijah Wood is forced to play his piano during a concert, all to the tune of whatever dastardly plan the voice of John Cusack has in store. A man, manipulated by concern for his wife, with death imminent if he doesn’t play along with the villain’s plan, and who must also try and uncover exactly what that plan is before it’s all too late. Does Grand Piano hit any off-notes? Is it a film in a minor key? That, dear reader, is what we’re here to determine.