(On Cable TV, May 2015) I’m not against craziness in my thrillers, even when the craziness is used as a substitute for logic or coherence. Grand Piano, in this instance, is a good example of what happens when flamboyance and go-for-broke audacity can compensate for a premise so unlikely as to defy suspension of disbelief. (It’s insane enough that even the villain’s henchman questions the plot.) Director Eugenio Mira goes all-out in trying to wring all possible excitement out of his script, and the result is a stylish thriller in which ambitious camera moves serve to obscure the nonsensical plot. There’s a lot of craft in the direction (early shots have two or three narrative points established in the same image), and the direction seems to get crazier as the film advances. Elijah Wood makes for a decent protagonist, as a concert pianist threatened with fatal retribution if he plays a single false note. Meanwhile, John Cusack lies in the shadows as the antagonist, literally calling the shots in a full concert hall and adding another antagonist role to his filmography. Grand Piano is a short film (excluding the credits, it barely inches past the 75-minutes mark) but it races through its plot points at such a dizzying speed that the flaws of the film seem less consequential. People most likely to respond favorably to Grand Piano include those who don’t mind a bit of style in their otherwise ludicrous genre exercises – I found myself liking the film a great deal more than I should, but then again I’m fond of thrillers that grab on to unusual premises and milk it to their fullest extent. In other words, I’m pretty happy with Grand Piano, a film with unexpected rewards that proves that maximalist execution can go hand-in-hand with a crazy premise.