Grand Piano Review
A smart thriller shows you something you've never seen before. A smart thriller plays with your mind and assaults every aspect of your nature, knowledge and intellect. A smart thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat, all the while you mercilessly try to figure out what is going on. The best of thrillers play with your mind, play with your emotions and play with most of your five senses all at once. People like Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang and even Stanley Kubrick were masters at this, and many have been trying to duplicate their efforts, with varing results.
"Grand Piano" is a thriller that plays somewhat smart throughout its entire running time. I think Elijah Wood does a good job playing the man who gets in way over his head. I also think that John Cusack does an equally good job playing a crazed madman. Its interesting how well actors can convey entire characters by only using their voices. Its an amazing gift, and I love Cusack's work here. So, yeah, there are some wonderful performances in the movie. I think the film does a good job of displaying great tension in the film.
I should probably describe the film a little bit. Elijah Wood plays Tom, one of the best living pianist in the world. A year before the film picks up, we learn Tom suffered from horrible stage fright while trying to play a piece of music that is apparently impossible to play. Now he's considered a hack and is trying to build his career back. His wife gets him into a comeback venue, and it seems like he could easily get back on his feet. Tom notices red-inked messages on his sheet music and he quickly learns that someone is going to kill him if he plays wrong. Cusack plays the madman behind the evil plot.
I will admit that the premise is a little preposterous, but I give the filmmakers credit for being able to generate some rich tension from the premise. Sadly, all the tension in the world could save the film from itself. The madman's reason for doing all of this to Tom is completely far-fetched, which crashes the film down quite a bit. I also didn't dig how the film enters slasher territory a couple times in the film. When Tom and the madman finally meet, the film ends with a mano-e-mano conflict, rather than a clever resolution. I don't think every premise needs to be logical in order to work, just as long as the film is executed well. This film stumbles with the premise quite a bit, and it took me out of the film.
The film isn't entirely bad and the work done by the actors allows the audience to buy into the silly story. So, "Grand Piano" is worth at least a look. It will be a fun once-over, but nothing more than that.
FINAL GRADE: B