Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)
Starring: Elijah Wood, John Cusack, Kerry Bishe, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Don McManus, Alex Winter, Dee Wallace
Plot: A pianist with stage fright endures a performance under the eyes of a mysterious sniper, who will shoot and kill him if a wrong note is played.
Tagline – Play one wrong note and you die.
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Intense Musical Performance
Story: Grand Piano starts when Tom Selznick (Wood) is returning to the stage for the first time in five years after having a breakdown, he is still regarded as one of the greatest pianists in the world, with this show being a complete sell out, his wife actress Emma (Bishe) watching from the crowd the performance begins.
This performance would take a drastic turn when Tom is given a phone call from a mysterious stranger Clem (Cusack) forcing him to put on a perfect show or he will kill his wife, can Tom put away the fears he once had and performance the unplayable piece.
Thoughts on Grand Piano
Characters – Tom is a gifted pianist, a prodigy of sorts, who saw his career come crashing down after a moment of stage fright, he is going to make his grand return in tonight’s show after 5-years away, his is happily married to Emma who will and has supported his return. Tom learns that the performance has a special audience member that is watching his every move to make sure that he gives a perfect performance, or he will kill Emma, this only adds to the pressure placed on Tom to give the performance of a lifetime. Clem is the man on the balcony holding a sniper on Emma, he is demanding that Tom does the perfect performance or he will eliminate the people closest to him. Emma is the actress wife of Tom, she is one of the most popular in the business, which sees the cameras follow her around.
Performances – Elijah Wood must do most of the carrying of this film, his performance for a man that just can’t escape from the potential killer, he makes us feel the sympathy with the situation he is going through. John Cusack is mostly on the voice work as he is trying to keep the unsettling performance with his voice. Kerry Bishe is here to be the beautiful potential victim, we can see her being the big name actress of this world.
Story – The story follows a musician on his grand return being forced into a perfect performance by a gunman in the theatre, he must figure out how to stay ahead of the gunman or see his loved ones killed. This story does see us witnessing the similar idea of ‘Phone Booth’ which was a lone setting, with the victim trapped being forced into actions they can’t defend against. This does feel intense for the story because you know that this gunman isn’t afraid, you are mostly waiting to see just what the motive is behind his action, which is the biggest draw of the story. this story does keep everything simple which is important and effective for the film.
Music/Mystery – The music side of the film comes from the performance during the film which shows just how the pianist will do anything to keep the audience’s attention, while being put through a tormenting night. The mystery comes from just why the gunman is putting Tom through the situation he is.
Settings – The film is set in the theatre which shows the main target on the stage with nowhere to run, even if he knows the crowd could become a victim.
Final Thoughts – This is a smart mystery thriller that does give us the intensity required to keep us on edge through the film.
Overall: Smart thriller in unique location.