I’ve been a huge fan of every horror-related film I’ve seen that has starred Elijah Wood. From his earlier work in The Good Son and The Faculty to his later roles in 2012’s Maniac remake and most recently in Eugenio Mira’s 2013 thriller, Grand Piano.
Tom Selznick (Wood) is a genius pianist who has been retired for the past five years, due to ‘choking’ at his last stage performance. His wife, Emma (Kerry Bishé, Argo), is a famous actress about to embark on a new step in her career. Emma has put together a show to bring Tom back to stage once again, in order to perhaps breath new life into his career, as well. As if Tom wasn’t dreading this day enough already, it is made clear rather early in his performance that an anonymous sniper is ready to shoot him or Emma at any second, if Tom were to play a wrong note at any time.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this movie ever since it started premiering at film festivals and the like last year and have been eagerly awaiting the day when I could watch it also. I am happy to say the wait was well worth it because Grand Piano is a fantastic suspense thriller in the vain of movies like Speed and Phone Booth.
The acting in Grand Piano is amazing all around, but who would expect anything less from the likes of Elijah Wood and John Cusack? I was skeptical about Cusack playing the antagonist, but my worries were quickly washed away as I became immediately immersed in the situation. The entire time Elijah Wood’s character is sitting on that stage, I felt like I was right there with him. This was also in part due to the wonderful camera work seen throughout.
Unax Mendía’s cinematography is astounding from beginning to end, using a wide array of techniques from multi-angled close-ups to split screen shots to even more amazing techniques that I don’t know the proper name(s) of! His work coupled with the awesome presentation executed by the visual effects team really make for a rather engrossing experience.
There are way more visual effects in this movie than the naked eye could even pick up. There are some scenes here and there where you can see evidence of some post-production CGI work, but you really can’t get a full grasp of all of the work put in by the effects team, until you watch some of the behind-the-scenes featurettes, included on the blu-ray/DVD release of the film.
If you are looking for an exciting change of pace from your every day horror film, you definitely need to check out Grand Piano. It will keep you entertained and with a rather short runtime of about 78 minutes (plus 12 minutes of credits), you won’t want to miss a thing!
You can pick up a copy of this film from Magnet Releasing next Tuesday, May 20. I give Grand Piano 4 keys out of 5.