“Do what you do. And try and have some fun. And remember, it’s just music.”


High concept thrillers can be great fun and an effective way to use budgetary constraints to heighten tension through claustrophobically limited settings. Such films rely, however, on selling the audience on that concept sufficiently to allow suspension of disbelief. A virtuoso concert pianist being threatened during a concert with being shot by a sniper if he plays a single wrong note is so preposterous that it struggles out of the gate, not least because heightened stress and conversing via an earpiece are possibly the worst ways to elicit a flawless performance. That Grand Piano works at all is a testament to the commitment of the filmmakers in spite of the content, with a cast that plays it straight throughout. The film makes good use of its space, being set almost entirely within a concert venue, providing the audience with brief interludes of breathing space beyond the auditorium itself. However, the psychological exploration of the mind of a troubled soloist whilst performing is vastly inferior to other representations (such as the the concert scenes in the anime Your Lie in April) and any veneer of cerebral sophistication swiftly falls away. The result is an exercise in old-school filmmaking and a serviceable 90-minute distraction.