Movie Review - Grand Piano

This is just a ridiculous movie, even more stupid than Phone Booth (2002), which is the closest corollary, and Phone Booth was pretty stupid.

The premise is intriguing. Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) stars as Tom Selznick, a classical pianist who gives a concert performance when he receives a death threat by a sniper live on stage who says he will kill Tom or his wife Emma, played by Kerry Bishé (Argo and Nice Guy Johnny), if he doesn't play a particular piece of music perfectly. This setup is actually thrilling, but after things are established, the movie is just sheer ridiculousness.

Written by Damien Chazelle, it's clear that this is a movie motivated by wanting to work in this premise, more than it's motivated by logic or reason. This comes through when the sniper's motive is revealed. The sniper, played by John Cusack, has an assistant who points out that this plan to threaten Tom live on stage during the concert makes no sense. There are easier, less complicated ways to get what he wants.

Director Eugenio Mira does a fantastic job of maintaining great energy, whipping his camera and flying it around the concert hall with punch. His tone is consistently nervy and tense from beginning to end. Wood gives a good performance, but it's just locked in a stupid framework.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for some language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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