The credits rolled and I sat staring, the afterimage of a burning white
face and bench buried in the snow still resonating in my eyes. I was
sure if I was blown away, confused, enraged or all three. The Piano
Tuner of Earthquakes is riddled with problems: the unnecessarily
overbearing voice-over exposition during the first forty minutes, the
thin plot lines in the opening five minutes. The Quay Brothers seem to
not be entirely sure what this film is about, I don't get the sense
that there was a mastermind behind this warped world, like I do while
watching Mulholland Drive.
That said, it is a very interesting film and, if for no other reason,
this is a film that should be seen for being one of the most
beautifully shot films of the last five years. The dried color palette,
the hazy, dream-like quality of the main character's POV and the stop
motion animation all combine to create a film rich in texture and
beauty. It seems that The Brothers Quay, though maybe not the most
talented of writers (this, I believe, is only their second feature
length as compared to stacks of rich short films), they are certainly
masters of the medium visually. It's an intense, droning, paced film.
It's slow and garbled. But it's beautiful.