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Grand Piano (2013)

R  |   |  Music, Mystery, Thriller  |  25 October 2013 (Spain)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 9,917 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 57 user | 129 critic | 20 from

During his comeback performance, a pianist who suffers from stage fright finds a note "play one note wrong, and you die".



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Selznick
A & V Interviewer
Jack Taylor ...
Patrick Godureaux
Emma's Publicist
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Emma's Assistant
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Emma's Agent
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Executive (as Richard A. Newby)
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During his comeback performance, a pianist who suffers from stage fright finds a note "play one note wrong, and you die".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Play or Die

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

25 October 2013 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Blackmail  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,964 (USA) (7 March 2014)


$22,353 (USA) (11 April 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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". See more »


Reisinger: [encouraging a worrisome Selznick] Do what you do. And try and have some fun. And remember, it's just music.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credit roll we hear The Impossible Piece being played while the title shows. See more »


References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »


Ten Happy Fingers
Written by Theodore Geisel and Frederick Hollander
Used by permission of Shapiro Bernstein Spain Mood Music Division
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures Industries,Inc.
Under license from Sony Pictures Music group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Suspenseful and thrilling film about a world-class pianist who takes the stage for a highly anticipated comeback performance,
15 July 2014 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

Entertaining suspense movie packs intrigue and ordinary touches in Hitchcock style . Top-notch thriller embroils a famous pianist in killing and twisted intrigue . Having messed up at playing an extremely difficult piano piece a few years before, talented pianist Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) lives with an extreme case of stage fright . Taking a step in the right direction and talked into it by his up and coming actress wife (Kerry Bishé) , Tom decides to give performing live another try . Already a mess, the situation is made much worse, when in the middle of playing a much easier musical number, Tom discovers a strange note written on his music sheet , the premise is the following : Play or Die .

Ultra-tense Spanish thriller starring Elijah Wood as a concert pianist who moments before his comeback performance suffers from stage fright and to discover that if he fails to play the music precisely as it was written , a nearly impossible feat in this case , then a sniper hidden in the theater will open fire. The picture is realized in Hitch wake , as it has a great number of elements and his own iconography : vertiginous height , innocent man wrongfully chased , blonde bombshells , voyeurism, long non-dialogue sequences , a matter of mistaken identity , MacGuffin ,etc. Do you know what a MacGuffin is, Maestro? It's a person or thing around which the entire film revolves and yet turns out to have little importance to the story . It's a magnificent device whereby a good plot can be given a driving force without the indecency of explanation . Grand Piano (2013), from director Eugenio Mira is an exciting film displaying suspense , intrigue , tension , and interesting drama well written by Damien Chazelle . Packs an ordinary theme of the suspense magician : innocent people become caught up in a cobweb intrigue and uncanny , intelligent villains . From the thrilling story and screenplay including literately and thoughtful dialog , the picture gets unlimited suspense in crescendo , tense , full of lingering frames and with the typical touches Hitchcock . And plenty of MacGuffins , as this picture is heavy with devices . A hidden threat, a hostage, an assistant, an unplayable piece of music, a stage, a key, and the unknown fortune of a deceased mentor .

Enjoyable mystery movie involves a bewildered pianist who hold numerous tricks in order to escape from a cruel killer and being chased cross hall concert and backstage . This agreeable picture by Eugenio Mira has a memorable scene after another and following the steps from master of suspense . This film has these particularities ; furthermore contains a fun intrigue , amusing situations and keeps the action at feverish pitch . Grand Piano is Hitchockian in the truer sense : It's a meticulously crafted piece of filmmaking that's wholly committed to a highly specific , somewhat outlandish premise . In addition , a colorful as well as evocative cinematography by Unax Mendia . Special mention to impressive and rousing musical score by Victor Reyes . The motion picture was well directed by Eugenio Mira (Agnosia , Birthday) and perfectly produced by Rodrigo Cortes (Buried , Red lights) . Mira played these elements like a concert pianist, perfectly timed with a soaring melody. Rating : Above average , well worth watching .

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