Piano, Front and Center
Let me start off by saying that I really enjoyed this movie. The best feature was that is was entire film centered around the piano. The story, although a little far-fetched was easy enough to play along with. A little suspension of disbelief, all was good.
Our pianist of the movie was Elijah Wood who did a great job of playing a neurotic performer who was plagued by a terrible performance in his past that kept him off the stage for many years. As he prepares for his comeback concert, he discovers something a bit more sinister is happening. A madman, with a gun in the audience has told him that if he plays even one incorrect note, someone he loves, his wife, will be shot. A lot of pressure for any pianist, especially since the program includes one of the most difficult pieces he has ever played.
The pace of the movie is well done and enough is revealed to the audience to keep up the tension without losing our interest. Just when you think you have a grasp of the killer’s motives, there is a twist. The cinematography of the movie is simply beautiful. For piano lovers, it’s pure eye candy from start to finish. All the crane shots you can handle and many creative shots inside the piano to really have the piano as the main feature of the film.
Kudos to Elijah Wood for his performance both as an actor and as a hand-syncing pianist. In an interview I read, he mentions how much work was put into making sure that his hands really look like they were playing all those pieces. Although he plays a little bit, he admits that his skill is nowhere nearly good enough on the piano to play the pieces needed for the film. Nevertheless, it was well done and he deserves accolades for his effort.
John Cusack plays the villain in this film and his creepiness is felt from the first time we hear his voice on the screen. As he plays with Wood’s character, he only grows more and more sinister. Towards the end of the film, we are allowed, as the audience, to fully understand what the reason for his madness is. I won’t spoil it here for those that haven’t seen the film yet, but it’s a good twist, count on it.
All in all, I enjoyed this movie and while it certainly won’t win any Oscars, it is a great experience. As pianists, I think we get a certain boost in our enjoyment for movies like this one where the piano is front and center and we can experience the character from his perspective rather than the audiences.
If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think?