Are we sure that Brian De Palma didn't somehow directed this movie. It has a modern Hitchcock vibe to it with the story and concept and it's filled with lots of long, complex, swirling shots that De Palma would be jealous of. In other words, it sounds like a perfect movie for every movie lover but yet it's far from a brilliant movie though. I'm even reluctant to call it a great one.
Thing about this movie is that, despite everything, it's still an one note (no pun intended) movie. People have compared it to movies such as "Speed" and "Phone Booth" before and I can see why. It uses a similar sort of concept and this movie can basically be seen as a combination of those two movies. A piano player is forced to keep playing during a concert (the "Speed" 'ingredient'), while a dangerous killer is talking to him on an earpiece and is giving him instructions (the "Phone Booth" ingredients). Still doesn't sound like a bad thing, were it not for the fact that the movie isn't always making the best decisions with its story.
The main twist and reveal at the middle of the movie for instance, when the 'killer's' intentions are finally revealed and his motives explained. It was kind of weak, far fetched and disappointing really, in my opinion. I wasn't buying into it but I also have to say that it didn't ruin the movie for me either.
The movie as a whole still remains a pretty well done and original one, despite 'borrowing' heavily from other movies and the fact that it's heavily influenced by Hitchcock movies. Yes, there's also a McGuffin in the movie but despite the presence of many different influences, the movie still manages to find its own voice and it works out as a pleasant and original enough one.
It has a pleasant flow and pace to it, without ever becoming a repetitive one. A real accomplishment of course, seeing how this movie is for most part taking place at the same location, with its main character sitting behind a piano.
Technically it's also a pretty good movie. It has some impressive shots in it and the overall look and cinematography of the movie is simply good. It often adds to the tension, though I admit that it's a bit distracting and gimmicky feeling as well at parts.
I also often still have some real difficulties seeing Elijah Wood as a normal and average guy, let alone as an accomplished pianist, while he's still looking like a young boy. Not saying that his acting is bad in this movie but lets just say that he wouldn't have been my first choice if I would have been put in charge of casting.
But really, despite all its minor flaws and weakness, this still remains a pretty good and solid thriller, that's filled with plenty of tension and originality.