Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
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
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
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.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each 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  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)