Grand Piano

Grand Piano Information

Grand Piano is a 2013 English-language Spanish thriller film directed by Eugenio Mira and starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack. The film is about a once promising pianist returning for a comeback performance, only to be the target of a sniper who will kill him if he plays one wrong note. The film premiered at Fantastic Fest on 20 September 2013 and was given a VOD release on 30 January 2014. It was given a limited release in U.S. theatres on 7 March.


Tom Selznick was an up-and-coming concert pianist until he developed stage fright while attempting to play a complex piece, "La Cinquette". Five years later, he is slated to reappear in public for a comeback performance in Chicago, dedicated to the memory of his late mentor, pianist and composer Patrick Godureaux. Godureaux posthumously acquired massive media coverage due to the mysterious disappearance of his vast fortune. Selznick's return to the stage is prompted by the encouragement of his actress-singer wife, Emma.

Before the concert, a house usher hands Tom a folder of sheet music. In the folder, he finds the manuscript to "La Cinquette" and discards it. During the concert, Tom finds a note in his sheet music that threatens to kill him if he misplays a single note. Believing it to be a prank, he ignores it, only to find further notes that threaten Emma, as well as a laser dot that tracks his movement. Disturbed, Tom leaves the stage, shocking the audience. He returns to his dressing room, where he receives a text that instructs him to locate and wear an earpiece, allowing communication with the would-be-assassin, Clem. When Tom returns to the stage, Clem demonstrates his rifle's stealth and range by shooting a nearby spot without alerting anyone.

Desperate, Tom surreptitiously uses his cell phone to contact his friend Wayne, who is in the audience. When Wayne's phone rings, it momentarily disrupts the performance; Wayne leaves the concert hall in embarrassment. As he plays, Tom taps a text message to Wayne, but the usher (who is revealed to be working with Clem) kills Wayne. Clem tells Tom to look up, and Tom sees Wayne's body on the rafters. Wayne's girlfriend Ashley leaves the hall in search of him, but she is also killed by the usher. Clem then tells Tom that instead of performing Beethoven's "Tempest Sonata", as the conductor originally announced, he must perform "La Cinquette" flawlessly, as an embedded lock in the piano depends on a flawless performance. Clem further reveals that the release of said lock would yield a key to a safe deposit box containing Patrick Godureaux's disappeared fortune; Clem himself is the locksmith who worked with Godureaux to construct the mechanism. Tom insists that he can only perform "La Cinquette" with sheet music.

During intermission, Tom runs backstage in search of the crumpled manuscript, only to find that the janitor has destroyed it. Tom returns to his dressing room and listens to the piece on his iPod, feverishly taking notes to help himself remember. Norman, the conductor, announces Tom's solo performance of the Tempest Sonata, but Tom interrupts him and nervously but firmly announces that he will instead perform "La Cinquette"; the audience is delighted. Clem warns Tom to pace himself, so as not to wear himself out. Tom plays the piece completely free of error, until he gets to the very last note, which he deliberately misplays, infuriating Clem. Tom retorts that the audience does not know the difference - he receives a standing ovation, during which Tom realizes that he has finally conquered "La Cinquette", as well as his own stage fright. Tom ignores Clem's shouted threats and introduces Emma. Much to her and the audience's surprise, he suggests that she sing a song as an encore. She reluctantly obliges, and Norman accompanies her on a rendition of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child". The usher, realizing that everything he and Clem worked for is over, attempts to flee the building, but is shot by Clem. Tom overhears this and runs off the stage.

Racing upstairs, Tom finds the dead body of the usher. Clem comes out of the shadows and chases Tom to the light fixture rafters, directly above the piano onstage. In the ensuing struggle, Tom firmly grabs hold of Clem and throws both of them off the rafters. To the horror of everyone in the concert hall, Tom and Clem come crashing down onto the stage. Clem hits the piano and is killed instantly, but Tom lands to the side and survives. Emma rushes over to him, they embrace, and he says, "I think I broke my leg". Later, while waiting for their ambulance to leave, Tom sees the damaged piano loaded into a shipping truck. Inside the truck, he plays the last four bars of "La Cinquette" correctly, but nothing happens. Disappointed, Tom turns away until he hears the gears of the internal lock system turn and the sound of a metal key hitting the floor. He bends down to pick it up as the camera cuts to black.


  • Elijah Wood as Tom Selznick
  • John Cusack as Clem
  • Kerry Bish as Emma Selznick
    • Alice Ella as Emma's singing voice
  • Tamsin Egerton as Ashley
  • Allen Leech as Wayne
  • Don McManus as Norman
  • Alex Winter as Usher


Elijah Wood had worked with a teacher three weeks prior to going to Barcelona and found it stressful having to play the piano and speak at the same time saying, "It was incredibly technical [...] lots of moments where it was jumping from where I'd play, listen to a click, listen to music, have to be in the right place and the right time and hear dialogue and repeat dialogue".


The film was met with mostly positive reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 78% and an average score of 6.6/10, based on 58 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Grand Piano is so tense in its best moments "? and appealingly strange overall "? that it remains rewarding in spite of its flaws." On Metacritic, it has a 61/100 score (indicating "generally favorable reviews"), based on 20 critics. Todd Gilchrist of Indiewire said, "Grand Piano succeeds as a whole for the same reasons that Selznick does"?namely, because Mira brings all of its elements to work together in concert, and then executes them like a virtuoso". Guy Lodge, writing for Variety, commented on the film, saying "this not-quite horror film is refreshingly blood-shy even in bloodshed, preferring to let the scarlet soft furnishings of a plush Chicago concert hall provide the red menace". Stephen Dalton, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, found the film lacking but said "it has just enough stylistic swagger to excuse its utterly preposterous plot". He also found praise in the performances of Elijah Wood, John Cusack and Alex Winter, saying, "Together they elevate a risibly ridiculous plot into something akin to a pulp symphony".

Awards and nominations

Awards Category Nominated Result
Premios Feroz Best Drama
Best Original Soundtrack Vctor Reyes
Neox Fan Awards Best Spanish film
Saturn Awards Best Independent Film

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Grand_Piano_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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