Whiplash 2014 Movie Review
Hard-hitting drama plays out much like a thriller as Andrew (Miles Teller) dreams of becoming a great drummer no matter what the cost is. He ends up attending the best music school in the country and it doesn’t take long before he’s hand picked by Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the best teacher there who will stop at nothing to get the best out of his students.
WHIPLASH is a film that pretty much came out of nowhere and is leaving a major mark on those who see it. I will admit that I hadn’t really heard too much about the film but it seems with each passing day there was someone new singing it’s praises. Well, having now seen the movie I’m going to join the crowd and tell everyone how wonderful it actually is. I think one of the hardest things to do is take a familiar genre (teacher- student relationship) and trying to bring new life to it. Director-writer Damlen Chazelle manages to do just that because we’ve seen this type of film several times before but it’s done in such a way here that you can’t help but feel you’re watching something fresh and original.
I think one of the biggest reasons it feels fresh is due to the actual subject of a drummer. You’d expect to see something about singers or guitar players but to set this in the world of a drummer and Jazz music was something that works so well because of the wild, frantic style of the jazz score works perfectly well with the work and abuse that the main character forces on himself. The scenes of Andrew working his hands to blood are just so flawlessly edited with the score that you can’t help but feel every drop of blood that drips from his hands. Another major plus is the actual editing, which is incredibly fast-pace but falls well short of that MTV-style that has become so worn out the past two decades.
Of course, the film’s highlight is without question the performance of Simmons who is simply wonderful. Again, we’ve seen angry people countless times before and we’ve seen caring teachers countless times before. What’s so memorable about the performance here is how quickly Simmons is able to change emotions from caring to pure rage in the matter of seconds. Getting the eyes to tell you what you need to know from a scene is extremely hard but just watch Simmons’ eyes throughout the picture.
The rage he shows isn’t just mindless screaming and cussing because you can still see a certain emotion and caring in his eyes. Teller is also excellent in the role and manages to stand his own against Simmons. Both Paul Reiser and Melissa Benoist are also very good in their supporting parts.
What also makes WHIPLASH so memorable is the fact that it really plays out like a thriller. I’m not going to ruin anything that happens but we can see the main character falling apart due to the abuse from the teacher and we know something is eventually going to happen to cause havoc. The film plays this suspense out as if you’re watching a thriller and it really pays off in the final twenty-minutes as there are a couple excellent twists. The film certainly has everything you want from a movie and it’s clearly one of the best of 2014.