Title: Whiplash (2014)
Director: Damian Chazelle (Guy and Madeline Sit on a Park Bench)
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K Simmons, Paul Reiser
Plot: Wannabe professional drummer Andrew (Teller) finds himself a new member of renowned conductor Terrence Fletcher’s (Simmons) jazz band. Under Fletcher’s ever judging ear and violent mouth Andrew is pushed to the outer most limits of his ability.
“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job”
Review by Eddie on 25/02/2015
Who knew jazz and drumming could be so ripe for heart stopping narrative drive? Culminating in one of the more tension riddled finales of recent memories and featuring some of the most brutal ego tearing scripting this side of Full Metal Jacket, up and coming filmmaker Damian Chazelle’s searing drama is against all odds, a drama cume thriller of the highest order.
Featuring some of last years most outstounding performances from both the ever growing Miles Teller and the always good yet never before so commanding J.K Simmons, Whiplash will have you constantly on the edge of your seat, frequently forgetting to breathe and riveted every step of it’s running time due to an all round package that has rightfully become a player and often winner in this awards season. It’s stunning to consider this is one of Chazelle’s first features and for a man perhaps best known for scripting the Elijah Wood thriller Grand Piano, this is a sure fire heralding in of a major new filmmaking talent. Chazelle handles proceedings like a true professional, the editing, the pacing, the direction of actors and the award calibre scripting is all of he highest order and it’s evident throughout that Chazelle is a naturally gifted filmmaker. Whiplash truly is an exciting mix of dramatic tension and thrilling interplay between budding musician Andrew and egotistical conductor Terrence Fletcher that sees Chazelle draw out a pair of rivals that will live long in the lore of cinema history.
Since his arrival on the film scene in films such as Rabbit Hole and more recently The Spectacular Now, Miles Teller has threatened to break out at any moment and if The Spectacular Now was not proof enough, there is little remaining doubt after this effort that Teller is one of the finest examples of young talent in the industry today. Teller’s character of Andrew is a multilayered one and one that doesn’t necessarily win over our affections completely. His a complicated young boy, driven to the point of arrogance and not overly warm, yet his a figure we want to see succeed, if not only to spite the evil incarnate that is J.K Simmons’s Fletcher.
A recognisable face over many years of supporting work in Hollywood, it’s a true joy to see Simmons unleash in a stunning portrayal of a man driven to drive others to the point of no return. Whether spouting out some of the most vile abuse possible or talking calmly to potential future musicians that he can use in his band, Terrence Fletcher is a force to be reckoned with, a tornado of aggression and pent up rage. It’s one of 2014’s stand out performances and a role that saw Simmons collect a thoroughly deserved Oscar at the Academy Awards, it’s a win that is wholeheartedly earned and deserved.
While Whiplash has a few narrative missteps and a handful of questionable scenarios (particularly one scene involving a car accident) it’s not enough to sully a film that you suspect will be living a long life in years to come, being studied by start out filmmakers, budding actors and lovers of all things good cinema. Just don’t go showing anyone considering a potential sojourn in a music school, as Terrence Fletcher may just be enough to scare them away for good.
4 and a half bloodied drum kits out of 5