Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Amira Casar
Gottfried John
Assumpta Serna
Cesar Sarachu.
Directors
Stephen Quay
Timothy Quay.
Screenwriters
Stephen Quay
Timothy Quay
Alan Passes.
Running Time
99 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
Cupcakes
3 Star Empire Rating
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Brown
3 Star Empire Rating
Informant, The
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes
The Brothers Quay continue their tradition of bizarre yet beautiful animation.


submit to reddit


Plot
A failed composer (John) abducts an opera singer (Casar) and, having hidden her in his mountain retreat, hires a piano tuner (Saracho) to prepare the automata in his grounds for a grand performance, whose purpose the stranger soon realises bodes ill.


Review
The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes

A decade after their acclaimed Institute Benjamenta, identical twins Stephen and Timothy Quay return with this self-conscious fantasy that boasts Terry Gilliam as its executive producer. Rarely has a film looked so striking, with shards of colour and bright white light piercing a gloom of visuals that owe debts to German Expressionism and such distinctive surrealists as Czech animator Jan Svankmajer and René Magritte.

There are literary allusions, too, with Argentinian writer Adolfo Bioy Casares’ novella The Invention Of Morel being tempered with dashes of Shakespeare, H.G. Wells and Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom Of The Opera. Even the soundtrack mixes Vivaldi with excerpts from Trevor Duncan’s music for Chris Marker’s sci-fi curio La Jetée (itself an influence on Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys).

But none of this self-regarding artfulness can disguise the pretentiousness of the approach, the pomposity of the dialogue and the rigidity of Gottfried John and César Saracho as the madman and hopeless hero. The occasional impenetrability of the imagery corresponds to the wilful intellectual obliqueness that reduces this to a preening game for highbrow poseurs.


Verdict
Ingenious use of colour and light, but dramatic inertia makes this an infuriating experience.


Reviewed by Patrick Peters

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

The 10 Most Exciting Movies At Cannes 2014
Empire's pick of the Croisette's finest

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Hollywood's Biggest Names On Their Favourite Films
Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright and Ford on the films that inspire them

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)