Elijah Wood has had sort of an odd career since the blockbuster film series, "The Lord of the Rings", came to an end back in 2003. He's worked somewhat steadily in mix of indie, animation, and television roles, all with varied results. Unfortunately, through all this time, he did not seem to be enjoying the process. Picking a random film here and there and then on screen, he appeared bored or simply doing just enough to be serviceable. Luckily for him, he's not a bad actor, so this strategy mostly worked. However, "Grand Piano" is the first time in a long while, at least to this reviewer, that Wood appears to be really trying. Trying to do something different than his usual movies, trying to break out of the box, just simply trying. Though to be fair, his role in the short film "Setup Punch" (2012) is also pretty awesome. "Grand Piano" is a Spanish thriller from 2013 and it stars Elijah Wood and John Cusack.
The premise is that Wood plays Tom Selznick, a famous pianist, who is just coming back to the world stage after a bout of stage fright which sent him into early retirement. Unfortunately for Selznick, the night of his big comeback performance, he finds a note on his sheet music saying that if he plays one wrong note he'll die. Despite the somewhat ridiculous plot, Wood and the rest of the cast (even "Downton Abbey's" Allen Leech with an American accent!), really sell the plot. It's scary, funny, interesting and unique. Somehow it all comes together wonderfully except the somewhat rushed ending.
Do go see "Grand Piano", Hartford. It should be available On-Demand for a few weeks and then will come out on DVD/Blu-ray on May 20, 2014.