Grand Piano

Starring: Elijah Wood, Kerry Bishe, John Cusack, Alex Winter

Directed By: Eugenio Mira

Sometimes, attempting to recreate the mystique of a hitchcockian thriller can be hard. That’s what Eugenio Mira should take away from this. Also, the MPAA should reevaluate its ratings system, because there is no reason for this movie to be R.

There are only a small handful of deaths. None of them are bloody or gory. No one gets their head blown off. One person gets their neck snapped, another has a bullet wound in the head (no blood), and another falls to his death. There’s no nudity. No sex. No drugs are taken. It’s Rated R for some language. I suppose there might have been a few extra curse words, but I honestly wouldn’t describe it as being “a lot”.

The plot of the film is simple. A concert pianist is returning to the stage after a long hiatus, only to be held at gunpoint by a sniper. One wrong note, he and his wife die. Of course, he notoriously suffers from stage fright. And he’s choked before.

Elijah Wood does a sufficient job as the pianist, and John Cusack spends most of the film as a voice. The film is quite short, and there never really seems to be a strong sense of danger. You always feel like Elijah Wood is probably going to make it out OK. That’s the difference between Grand Piano and Hitchcock’s greatest films. You weren’t always sure the hero would be OK in the end. Sometimes, the hero wasn’t OK in the end. Sometimes, Vertigo happened. Psycho happened.

The stakes are never quite high enough. The plot is always predictable. It’s not a bad movie, it’s just kind of a pointless movie. For a mystery/thriller like this, stakes are pretty much all you’ve got. The promise that things won’t be alright, are pretty much the best part about watching this type of film. So if those aspects are missing, what’s the point?

On a side note, it was  super cool seeing Alex Winter back in a movie again. He’s done some voice work, and some writing, but he hasn’t really done anything except Bill and Ted. So it was an inspired casting choice to bring him back to film with this film. He does a good job, and doesn’t look like  mess like some former child stars do. He looks like he aged well. Good for him.

FINAL GRADE: C

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