Grand Piano (Blu-ray)

May 27, 2014 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Following in the tradition films like Phone Booth and Cellular (in its basic premise), Grand Piano stars Elijah Wood as Tom Selznick. After a public embarrassment some years before, he’s now ready to perform again. He suffers from stage fright and finds warnings on his music sheet telling him not to mess up a single key or he will be killed. To confirm that this isn’t a hoax, the shooter shines a red dot on the piano and on Tom to show him that he’s not kidding around. The film makes it known that the shooter is played by John Cusack. He’s listed in the opening credits as well. I feel this is one of the film’s biggest problems as it would’ve been nice to have that kept a secret. I remember when Seven was released. Kevin Spacey’s role was cloaked in secrecy. That proved to be a smart move as it made his introduction a lot creepier than it would’ve otherwise been. Many (including the cast) have compared this film to the work of Brian De Palma,but really, the film didn’t make much of an impression on me. All the ingredients are here, but something’s missing. I think if they kept Tom at the piano for more of the film then the tension would’ve been raised. We see him scurrying around through much of the film and that lessens a lot of the suspense.

I wanted to enjoy this film and after reading some generally favorable reviews, I figured I’d give it a shot. It clocks in at under 80 minutes, but it felt like a 2-hour plus film and dragged on a number of occasions. I had a hard time caring about any of the characters here (especially Tom) and became eager for it to finally end. The plot is intriguing, at least on paper, but something got lost in translation here. Elijah Wood seems bored here and the plot can’t sustain interest even in the short running time. The film gets more than a little silly before the closing credits, but if you’re like me then you’ll hardly care how it ends. Don’t waste time with this one. It takes what could’ve been an effective, smaller-scale thriller and manages to turn it into a bore. Skip it.

Video: How’s it look?

I didn’t care for the film, but Grand Pianodoes look quite nice in HD. The AVC encoded (2.40:1) image is consistently solid. It’s by no means a flashy transfer, but the film isn’t either. It’s presented here well. The print is pristine and details sharp throughout. Flesh tones are spot on without any flaws to speak of. Fans will be pleased with the image here.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is also solid. There’s plenty of music throughout the film and it’s handled here with a nice crisp sound. Vocals are strong with no major issues. It’s a more front loaded track, but the rears kick in when needed. Don’t expect too robust of a track and you won’t be disappointed. Things are reproduced strongly here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • The Making of Grand Piano – This is a pretty standard behind the scenes look at the film. Everyone seems pretty proud of the work here. I wish I enjoyed watching the film as much as they enjoyed making it. I didn’t.
  • Interviews – Two sections here, one with Elijah Wood and one with the director.
  • Soundtrack – Is nothing more than a short piece on the music heard in the film.
  • Coaches – This piece shows music coaches helping on the film
  • Following Eugenio – A small piece about the director of the film.
  • Stunts – We’re offered a look at an action scene towards the end of the film and how it was done.
  • Visual Effects – This examines the effects used in some portions of the film.
  • Wayne’s Shot – Discusses a tracking shot in the film.
  • AXS TV: A look at Grand Piano – This is essentially an extended promo for the film.
  • Previews

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