söndag 6 april 2014

Grand Piano

I am a big fan of Brian De Palma´s earlier motion pictures. One of my personal favourites is Blow Out, a very intensive thriller about a sound engineer who happens to film a car accident, but witness that someone actually murdered this person. One of John Travolta´s best performances in his career. Let´s not forget, it was Brian De Palma who gave us his remake of Scarface, maybe one of the best remakes ever in movie history. I have to mention The Untouchables also, such a great gangster drama movie with fantastic performances from Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Andy Garcia. Lately he have not directed so many motion pictures, his latest one is called Passion, and was released in 2012. Maybe he is slowing down at the age of 73, but hopefully he will return at least one more time, becuase this man is a fantastic director. Grand Piano is said to be inspired by Brian De Palma´s earlier work, and the director behind this motion picture is Eugenio Mira. To be honest with you, i have not seen any of his earlier work, but i have heard of his movie Agnosia, since it was praised by critics in the year 2010. Ever since i heard about Grand Piano, i got excited. Elijah Wood in the leading role was one reason, but also that this was to be inspired by De Palma got my attention. Considering Grand Piano have been praised by critics, is this a thriller of high quality, or is the hype way too big to be true ?

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.

Rating: DDDD

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