Film Review – Whiplash (2014)

In Damien Chazelle‘s recent film, a young drummer, Andrew (Miles Teller), enrolls at a very prestigious music conservatory in hopes of making it big. “One of the greats,” he hopes. Unfortunately, a cut throat instructor is there to push him every step of the way, and not very kindly. What I love about Whiplash is the in-your-effing-face intensity. Every scene is a thrill. Every scene is a vital component of the whole narrative. I can’t describe a moment where the film was off by a beat (pun intended). The trial and error of Andrew’s performance with his drums is a journey so uniquely captivating. He’s being ripped apart by instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). But what this film brings home is the Best Supporting Actor oscar for J.K. Simmons, and the clean ensemble of narration. How does one begin to give a film such high praise? I’ll break it down.

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

The acting delivers throughout the film. It made the film bounce out and keep me entertained. Miles Teller is one hunk of an actor to look out for! (Kinda fangirling right now and this may be the start of an obsession) Oh my god, he is talented AND hilarious. I recently watched him on Jimmy Fallon’s show and I was bursting with laughter. But in all honesty, this guy is the real deal, top notch in this movie. He’s pushing himself in the role and he is still so young, so we may be in store for more great performances from this actor. It’s like you can see the determination in young Andrew. The expression, the sweat, the blood, the speed, and endurance. In the scene where he was practising after a harsh first day in Fletcher’s domain, Andrew is literally bleeding through bandages to keep on drumming. Time and time he is feeling anger towards Fletcher, frustration towards himself, and motivation to prove everyone wrong. He’s in the shadows of everything. His aspirations are being pushed aside by his relatives’ success in football. His mother left him and his dad when he was little. What can this boy amount to? It’s the drive in Andrew that is the holy force behind the whole story. We the viewer become so invested into this character. He lays it all out, and it’s much applauded for. Teller can only go up from here.

His counterpart played by Simmons is just a tsunami of great terror. Fletcher is such a pushy, foul-mouthed man, and I loved it. He was both the humor and the fear of the entire film. But man, we sure hated this character as well. This would describe our feelings toward him:

3-Whiplash-quotesTo sum it up, Simmons totally owned that Oscar. He’s got so much charisma! To me, he’s not just that angry newspaper editor that hates Spider Man anymore ! He’s Terrence freakin Fletcher! One thing that was just as clean as the acting was the visual. Some angles just felt so personal, as if we were Carl Tanner sitting there, watching Neimann take Fletcher’s wrath up close. It was really a pleasure to watch this movie. Sure the ending gave me questions and curiosity, but for this narrative, it was quite alright. With all of its drummin’ glory, Whiplash sure kicked ass as a film. So go watch it.

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