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Grand Piano (2013)

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A pianist with stage fright endures a performance under the eyes of a mysterious sniper, who will shoot and kill him if a wrong note is played.


Eugenio Mira


Damien Chazelle
5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elijah Wood ... Tom Selznick
John Cusack ... Clem
Kerry Bishé ... Emma Selznick
Tamsin Egerton ... Ashley
Allen Leech ... Wayne
Don McManus ... Norman Reisinger
Alex Winter ... Assistant
Dee Wallace ... A & V Interviewer
Jim Arnold ... Janitor
Jack Taylor ... Patrick Godureaux
Beth Rollan Beth Rollan ... Emma's Publicist (as Beth Trollan)
Amy Gwilliam Amy Gwilliam ... Emma's Assistant
Harris Gordon Harris Gordon ... Emma's Agent
Ricardo Alexander Ricardo Alexander ... Executive (as Richard A. Newby)
Brendan Murphy Brendan Murphy ... Mover #1


A pianist with stage fright endures a performance under the eyes of a mysterious sniper, who will shoot and kill him if a wrong note is played.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Play or Die See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »


Spain | USA



Release Date:

25 October 2013 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Sans fausse note See more »

Filming Locations:

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,964, 9 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,353, 13 April 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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 »


The opening drive into Chicago begins southbound on Lake Shore Drive, then northbound on LaSalle (you'll recognize it from the Batman films), then south on Wabash, then suddenly across the river, coming east on Washington, where the car finally stops at the Lyric Opera building. The interiors were shot elsewhere, so nothing looks like the actual hall. 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 The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953) See more »


The Truth About Love
From the Album "Weirder Than Sex"
Recorded at Estudios Katanga,Vitoria
Composed and Performed by Vertigo Surround
Guitars and Lead Vocals: Eugenio Mira
Bass by Mihran Yeranosian
Lead Guitar by Bruce German Sanchez Jimenez
Drums by Vincent Teruel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Urgent Suspense Prevails
2 March 2014 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

Tom Selznick is an acclaimed concert pianist. However, after messing up a key performance, he withdrew from the public eye. He agreed to perform again at a concert-tribute to his departed mentor. But as he began to play, he noted a threat written on his sheet music. He should play perfectly to the note, or his wife will die.

Elijah Wood plays Tom with his trademark wide-eyed style of acting. This film is practically a one-man show for Wood as all the focus was on him as he played for his wife's life while trying to psych out his unseen adversary. The constant look of fear on his face made this film work. For a non-piano player like myself, Wood's piano playing looked wonderfully realistic.

The villain was played by John Cusack, whom we only hear for the most part as his chilling voice dictated what his captive should do. Cusack succeeds to convey that sinister feel by his vocal inflections alone. We only see his face for a brief while towards the end which was honestly a bit anti-climactic.

The glamorous Kelly Bishe plays Tom's wife Emma, a celebrated actress who organized Tom's comeback event. Too bad, there really was not much for her to do here. I have to say though that I loved her haunting vocal solo (if that was actually her singing).

Actually the whole situation was impossible. While Tom was passionately playing complicated pieces, he was in constant communication with his hostage-taker via an earpiece. During certain movements in the concerto, Tom was actually able to run off the stage to go to the dressing room to investigate. He can even text while playing piano!

I don't really know what kind of superhuman ability Tom has to keep on playing perfectly while all of this stressful things were swirling around him. If you are able to suspend your disbelief in the incredibly improbable flow of events unfolding on the screen, you will get drawn into the excitement and tension of it all.

This film is not very long, only an hour and twenty minutes. The whole situation was bordering on the absurd, yet the way director Eugenio Mira staged it, urgent suspense still prevailed. The cinematography was lush. The editing was well done. The music was otherworldly in its beauty.

I enjoyed it. The middle section really had me on the edge of my seat. The concluding act was rather over-the-top, but overall this was a neat thriller that is worth to check out. 6/10.

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