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Rated 2.99 stars
by 313 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Symphonic Half-Life
by Richard Jack Smith

For a suspenseful action picture, Grand Piano barely moves. Comparisons with Alfred Hitchcock are problematic at best because director Eugenio Mira simply reproduces Phone Booth in a concert hall. Meanwhile, Elijah Wood delivers a less than satisfactory turn as pianist Tom Selznick. All set to rebuild his reputation, he faces a bigger challenge when a sniper threatens his life if he fails to perform a famous piece flawlessly.

Of all the tasks facing an actor, conveying fear must be one of the hardest to get right. Aside from the emotion itself, there's an intrusive film camera which can reveal the sincerity or lack of same in a performance. In short, Wood struggles underneath this burden. He basically makes the same facial expression from beginning to end with precious little variation. 

As the unseen villain, John Cusack needs to sound menacing or he risks losing the audience. Unfortunately, his down to earth voice does him no favours here. 

Much of Grand Piano relies on a skilful blend between music that's played on-screen and the kind that's added later on in post-production. Never mind the theme -- composer Victor Reyes adds a sound effect which robs his music of the clear, crisp tones normally heard from an orchestra. 

Instead of striking a major chord, Grand Piano quickly becomes a tedious experiment in tick-the-box filmmaking for many disappointed viewers. (Capsule review)

(Released by Magnet Releasing and rated "R" by MPAA.)

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