Grand Piano (2013)

Movie Title: Grand Piano

Year Released: 2013

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 30min

Genre: Music, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Eugenio Mira

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishé, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Don McManus, Alex Winter, Dee Wallace

Review: A talented pianist Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) has just one chance to overcome his stage fright or a mysterious sniper (John Cusack) will put a definitive end to his music career. It's a thrilling performance in the music hall as we tickle the ivories of terror in Grand Piano.

Grand Piano is a visually impressive, breakneck paced thriller that manages to keep you glued to your seat with tension and musical precision. I'm kind of split on this one. The story starts out as a drama of a famous pianist played by Elijah Wood that is reluctant for a comeback after a disastrous performance 5 years prior. With his famous actress wife Emma (Kerry Bishé) in attendance, and a sinister sniper (Cusack) putting him in the crosshairs, young Tom Selznick has to have the performance of his life if he doesn't want his to end tragically.

When the plot was set in motion I was on-board for his unique thriller. The editing, the camera work, the chemistry between Wood and Cusack really make this one worth watching. However, I had a few problems as things played on. There are a pair of lame characters that are really only there so that the movie has somewhat of a real threat and a body count. That kind of took me out of it. The wife character is just there to be in danger so Wood's Selznick has more of a reason to perform flawlessly. And the reasons for Cusack's assassin to put the protagonist in danger are quite convoluted and doesn't really pay off in a satisfactory way.

The movie does move at a quick pace and I did enjoy it for the most part. It almost seemed like it would have been better if it was stripped down more to just the pianist and the sniper story and was a Twilight Zone episode or something like that.

It was certainly better than I expected. If you like thrillers with a ticking clock element, classical music, or stars Elijah Wood and/or John Cusack, then crack your knuckles and get ready to play the Grand Piano.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Despite being set in Chicago, all of the film's interiors were shot in Spain (though several exteriors were shot in Chicago itself).


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