Saturday, June 21, 2014
Grand Piano. B
Grand Piano is the kind of nifty, economical thriller I wouldn't mind seeing more of. It sells itself on its premise alone, which concerns Tom Selznick, a pianist who, after a stage fright induced hiatus, is making a comeback, only to learn during the first few minutes of the performance that he and his wife will die if he plays a wrong note. There's more to the plot than this, but not too much. It mainly relies on this idea and the psychological angst such a horrifying prospect yields. Elijah Wood plays the fidgety, nervous Selznick and its a perfect role for the actor who's never really found his footing after The Lord of the Rings. Wood's always been an actor of limited range, but he has the mousy, insecure look about him that makes him ideal for this kind of role. Director Eugenio Mira, owing a fair bit of his style to Brian DePalma, keeps the movie, which spends nearly all of its 80 minutes (not counting the end credits) in the concert hall, visually exciting. There are more canted angles, wild steadicam moves, and exaggerated zooms than can be kept track of, which is precisely the point. Not only does it keep the viewer's eyes on such a confined space, but it reflects the terrifying situation at hand perfectly. The Grand Piano is great entertainment, the rare thriller that truly only cares about thrilling its audience. While its impact isn't exactly lasting, its presence is more than welcome.