IMDB Score – 5.9
Rotten Tomato Score – 81%
Directed By – Eugenio Mira
Starring – Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishé, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Don McManus, and Alex Winter
Moments before his comeback performance, a concert pianist who suffers from stage fright discovers a note written on his music sheet.
HEY EVERYBODY. FRODO IS PLAYING PIANO. HAHAHAHAHA.
Alright, the horrible comedian inside me had to get that awful joke out of my system before I could continue with this. Honestly, I’m not a big Elijah Wood fan. He was serviceable in the LOTR films as Frodo but hasn’t been able to carry anything as well since. That and I just find his face annoying. I’m sorry Elijah. I’m sure you’re a wonderful person but I find your face annoying. I have the same problem whenever Ben Stiller plays his neurotic Jewish character that nobody likes. I think I just get angry at neurotic sad annoying characters because I see myself in them. I just get angry every time. I generally enjoy the television show Wilfred but Wood’s sad character just gets on my nerves and he plays pretty much the same character in this film. There were other flaws in the film but it sucks when an actor just takes you out of the film from the get go.
Mira actually did a good job with this. His direction was really the only thing keeping this from being a turd. The whole “taking place in one place” film seems very boring because it’s really a one trick pony, but I’ve always thought that it was a great opportunity for great writing. Films like “Exam”, “Cube”, and “The Square” have all been successes in my eyes in how to make an interesting film with only one setting. Grand Piano takes place almost entirely in a theater during one performance. Tom, played by Wood, is a former piano prodigy who has been talked into giving his first performance in five years. Five years earlier he was ridiculed as he goofed playing a piece in front of many admirers. He now has extreme stage fright During his performance he is forced into a game that could end up ending his life or the life of his wife. Guy, this is Phone Booth with a piano. It’s a obvious reference but it really did just fit. Wood however was god as good as Colin Farrell.
There just wasn’t much to do with the premise to avoid falling into stereotypical thriller cliches. The villain, played by Cusack, talked too much. He was in enough control to plan this detail and complex situation but couldn’t keep it together during the execution. It’s a problem a lot of these films have. You cook up a scheme that only a criminal mastermind could come up with but since these types of things rarely happen, the criminal usually fucks up and burns out. There was enough tension in the film though to keep me interested but it really was just silly once the halfway point hit. Also, nobody can play piano like that and use a fucking cellphone.
Overall it was an average thriller with some cool camerawork. Fans of Wood, I know there are many, might like in more than others but for me it was just average.
Suggested Viewing – Exam, Cube, The Square, The Killing Room, Phone Booth