Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
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
Overnighters, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Fury
3 Star Empire Rating
Way He Looks, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Serena
2 Star Empire Rating
Book Of Life, The
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
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
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, 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.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer Reaction
We dive under the hood of Whedon's sequel teaser

10 Of The Most Impressive In-Universe Movie Tie-In Websites
From Blair Witch to Days Of Future Past, expand your cinematic horizons online

The 12 Apps Every Film Fan Needs On Their Smartphone
The handheld essentials to enhance your movie life

Empire Meets Jason Bateman And Tina Fey
The stars of This Is Where I Leave You hang out

The Scariest Film Of The Year? Jennifer Kent On The Babadook
The director talks us through her terrifying new film

10 Horror Spin-Offs We Want To See
After Annabelle, what other supporting characters deserve their own film?

Documentaries: What Happened Next
We track down and interview the stars of great non-fiction films

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 money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! 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)