Whiplash (Film Review)

Jan 16, 2015
Do we really have to face the monsters to achieve greatness? Or do we have to create the monsters on our own? This is the one recurring theme ‘Whiplash’ has been trying to explore. This is Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature—and like his first film “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench”—jazz plays a supporting role in the film’s narrative. 

Miles Teller plays Andrew Newman, a freshman student/ drummer at Schaffer Conservatory of Music and is invited to join in Terrence Fletcher’s class—played by the immensely talented J.K. Simmons. Fletcher is one of the top music teachers in the university, also the conductor of the school jazz band. But what Andrew didn’t know might be a very relieving opportunity to be part of Fletcher’s class will put him in hell. And when I say hell, I mean Fletcher devouring Andrew limb by limb until he reaches greatness.

This film initially came out with a small, limited audience, so I’m sure (and I hope) everyone will be lining up to see this master-class work especially with the 5 Oscar nods on its shoulders. This is a fantastic movie, and will electrocute you with its frenetic editing and intense performance by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. ‘Whiplash’ never stopped drumming until its nail-biting climax, in which all hell breaks loose and some of the greatest endings of 2014.
Let’s talk about those performances for a while. J.K. Simmons, well what did you expect? He is terrific, and absolutely horrifying as Terrence Fletcher. I really don’t know if some of the words he says in this film are ad-lib or not, the lines just came out naturally. Terrence Fletcher is the definition of terror, and you just can’t help but to compare this guy to Sgt. Hartman of ‘Full Metal Jacket’. On the other side of the coin, a much under-appreciated Miles Teller also made a killer performance in the movie. He brought maturity and obsession to this character that brings darkness and tension to the film’s story. And may I say, his drumming in the film was spot-on. 

If I have one gripe for this movie, it is that "car-wreck" scene which came out of nowhere and distracts me a little bit because of the film’s realistic tone, and the fact that this scene felt unrealistic to me. Other than that, nahh.
Whiplash’ is a great, great movie showcasing the very best by Teller and Simmons. The writing was good, the editing was fantastic, and has some of the most intense moments to a film that features no explosions, guns and swordfight—Just trumpets and drums, that’s all.

The geek rates it 10/10!
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