Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) is a piano player, who were so close to become a superstar, but his stage fright took over. After many years away, trying to deal with his problems, he is convinced to return to a performance, to show the world that he is ready for a comeback. As the audience is getting seated, everyone in the orchestra is ready to start the concert, Tom begin to play. Suddenly he finds words written in the note papers. It says that if he plays one note wrong, and he will be killed. Every page he turns, there is a new message, and he have to follow everything he is told. While Tom get a pause, he is told to go to a dressing room. Here is a earphone, with a voice presenting himself to be Patrick Goudreaux ( John Cusack ), who will kill his wife Emma Selznick ( Kerry Bishé ) on the balchony where she sits in the theater, unless he follow his orders. Tom return to continue playing the piano, as Patrick tell him more information. He want Tom to play the best piano concert of his life, or he will be killed.
I have to say, Grand Piano is both a original thriller, and a very crafted piece of cinema experience. There are not many motion pictures i can compare this too, but suddenly i remember one. Phone Booth, the fantastic thriller by director Joel Schumacher. These are 2 very different stories, but the idea of someone forcing you to do certain things, or you will be killed is in both of these stories, told in very different ways. One detail that make Grand Piano original, is the fact that we don´t get to see classical music thrillers very often, set in an orchestra theatre. There are many scenes were you get to see Elijah Wood play the piano for real, and that makes his character feel more realistic, especially since he really tries to look like a professional piano player. I really loved Elijah Wood in Maniac, he may not be as powerful here, but still this is a really good performance. John Cusack´s voice works very well, while we follow the storyline. I will say that the plot is not very deep, but director Eugenio Mira have a sense of building a thriller in a very detailed way, without using the typical Hollywood chilché style. There are some scenes where it might be a bit slow, but overall i have to say Grand Piano is really good. If you love Brian De Palma´s earlier work, and even some Hitchcock influences, this will be a treat for you.