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Grand Piano (2013)

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Va Piano, Va Insano

After playing a dwarf with gigantic feet in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elijah Wood plays a short piano concert player with gigantic hands in this playful Hitchcock rehashing. Please suspend your disbelief and imagine

  • Elijah Wood as a concertist, playing  Rachmaripoffs with virtuosity while being threatened through an ear piece by:
  • A mostly invisible John Cusack as the motormouth vilain who wants the McGuffin,
  • the movie’s high concept:

Imagine the concert hall scene of Sir Alfred’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, with suspense based on one cymbal crash covering a gunshot (why, since the Ambassador will die and wreak havoc? No idea.) expanded to a whole movie. Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, apart from a useless prologue at the airport, this movie is a classical concert with a conceptual twist.

And oh boy, what a twist. The pianist comes and goes in and out of stage, courtesy of a peculiar programme placing an intermission between movements of a same concerto. Please note that this is a two movement concerto, with loooong orchestral passages, which comes as a convenient choice when you have do stop doing your piano stuff to pay a visit to the boiler room.

The villain wants a specific sequence of notes for the McGuffin, but does all to prevent the hero to play it right, so obsessed he is by killing his wife (Kerry Bishé), some actress/singer/something who mesmerises the classical audience by singing a torch song from her VIP box, a loooong scene just before pianist and villain fall right on the priceless Bösendorfer. Also the orchestra director does some kind of a stand-up routine, which might strike one as a little odd in front of a connoisseur classical audience. They lap it up nonetheless.

What does one forget to mention of such a classical rollercoaster ride? Oh, “La Cinquette”, an unplayable piece flawlessly played by Elijah Wood’s giant-fingered hand double, a piano equivalent of the blue inflated lady’s number in Luc Besson’s The Fith Element. Understand “painful to watch and even more painful to listen to, but unmissable”. And a half hearted Argento murder in a room full of mirrors. Half a point for the editing of that one.

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