They Shot the Piano Player

critic Reviews

, 80% Certified Fresh Tomatometer Score
  • They Shot the Piano Player presents a moving look at a fascinating true story, although its aesthetic inventiveness isn't matched by its narrative approach.
  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Sergio Burstein Los Angeles Times
    The experimentation sometimes loses its rhythm, but both good music and emotional impacts are absolutely guaranteed. [Full review in Spanish]
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Bill GoodykoontzArizona Republic
    Mariscal and Trueba unspool the story like a mystery.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Odie HendersonBoston Globe
    "They Shot the Piano Player" is a tribute to the musician and to those who knew him best. See it more than once, and hope the theater plays it loud.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Ty BurrWashington Post
    Under the supervision of animation director Carlos Léon Sancha, the film is a graceful, somewhat overbusy visual treat, a playful riot of colors anchored by a crisp sense of line.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Michael PhillipsChicago Tribune
    The film basically and improbably works, even with some limitations.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Claire ShafferNew York Times
    Getting to hear these musicians remember Tenório Júnior in their own words against the backdrop of the film’s gorgeous art direction brings them more to life better than a standard live-action talking head interview ever could.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Bill NewcottThe Saturday Evening Post
    The choice of animation as the medium for telling this somber story is an inspired one...the musical interludes fairly leap from the screen, an undulating riot of fiery reds, blazing yellows, and inky blues.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Ray Gill Jr.Willamette Week
    The film may be an unflinching look at a murderous past, but tragedy is juxtaposed with the joy of seeing an animated Ella Fitzgerald running barefoot through the streets... encapsulating the chaotic splendor and spirit of this cinematic gem.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Diane CarsonKDHX (St. Louis)
    [A] compelling, toe-tapping historical record contrasting political repression with spirited music.
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  • , Fresh Tomatometer Score
    Hope MaddenMaddWolf
    The way Mariscal and Trueba couch the heartbreaking loss of one life within the larger artistic loss of an entire art form is melancholy magic.
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