Title: Grand Piano
Director: Eugenio Mira
Starring: Elijah Wood, John Cusak, Kerry Bishé, Tamsin Egerton, Allen Leech, Don McManus, Alex Winter, Dee Wallace.
Tom Selznick, the most talented pianist of his generation, stopped performing in public because of his stage fright. Years after a catastrophic performance he reappears in public in a long awaited concert in Chicago. In a packed theatre, in front of the expectant audience, Tom finds a message written on the score that will set the beginning to this jocular thriller.
The dark comedy sets Hitchcockian moods within a Damien Chazelle circular-plot-script. The drama ends where it began, in nothing, but the one who who will keep audiences on the edge of their seats is Elijah Wood, who interprets the pianist under pressure majestically. The lead actor took piano lessons in his childhood and had a coach throughout the entire pre-production and shoot to perform “the impossible piece”: the infamous ‘La Cinquette.’ While John Cusack, for the little we see him, is brilliant playing the role of Tom’s tormentor.
The Spanish director, Eugenio Mira, brings back the old Hollywood magic of Cukor’s ‘A star is born,’ Kazan’s ‘East of Eden,’ Ray’s ‘Giant,’ and Polanski’s ‘Chinatown.’ The sophisticated flavour of the posh auditorium venue glorifies the endeavour of the the pianist with stage-fright, who faces the greatest challenge of his life, fighting for his wife’s life by performing impeccably the score which once he flunked.
‘Gran Piano’ has it all: a tense story, great acting and wonderful music, which was composed before production, since the musicians had to play the notes during the shooting. If Jimmy Stewart was thrilling in ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much,’ Elijah Wood in ‘Grand Piano’ undoubtably makes a killer musician.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi