"Piano 17" is an extraordinary achievement first, then a good action movie: shot on HDV on a shoestring budget of 65,000 (that should convert to around $ 71.000, these days), it is a highly entertaining thriller taking place around three people stuck in an elevator with a ticking bomb.
Although some of the premises are absurd (but not at all more absurd than - say - those behind such previous blockbusters as Jan DeBont's "Speed"), the script and the direction do manage to keep the plot going at pace fast enough to prevent you from asking too many questions.
There are moments where you wish the film to be even better - it takes a little while to get the story really spinning and there's just a couple of dialogs that overstay their welcome a little bit. But all in all the film works very well building up to a nail biting climax.
The transfer to 35mm for projection cannot completely hide the fact the film was shot on digital - but otherwise the production values are first level. It will probably play much better on DVD or video than it does in a theater - but as it is it does hold up much better than most of the films shot on video that I happened to see around.
It should be seen by anyone who can enjoy a thriller, but it is definitely a must for anyone planning to direct: it is a lesson on humility, craft and will. And very entertaining to boot. If I were a foreign distributor (hint! hint!) I'd snatch it up in a second.
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