Brilliantly written, superbly acted, beautifully photographed and intensely edited ‘Whiplash’, directed by Damien Chazelle, is in my opinion, the best film of 2014.
Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is a 19-year-old first year jazz student at the Shaffer music conservatory in New York. Having played the drums from a young age he has a strong ambition to become ‘one of the greats’.
Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), one of the conductors at the conservatory, sees potential in Andrew and transfers him to the top jazz ensemble.
In his class Fletcher uses fear and intimidation to get the best out of his students. But despite the physical and mental abuse, Andrew commits to perfecting his craft, even if it means sacrificing his sanity.
The main theme of Whiplash seems to concern the value of artistic greatness. What does it take to achieve excellence? One of the best qualities of Chazelle’s script is that it provides compelling points for both sides of the argument.
While Fletcher’s philosophy seems to work as it makes Andrew and his peers perform, it also has health and legal consequences on the class and Fletcher himself.
From the first few scenes we see that Andrew is passionate about jazz; he has posters of famous drummers on his wall, he practices on his drum kit while everyone in his dorm are partying.
We also see that Andrew has a good sense of humanity, he has a good relationship with his father and a decent but growing one with his girlfriend.
We empathize with Andrew having understood his traits. So when Fletcher abuses and tortures him we feel sorry for him.
Terence Fletcher, while not as easy to sympathize with, has his reasons, which are disturbingly understandable.
The performances from the two leads are amazing. J.K. Simmons is terrifying as Fletcher. He manages to convey him as nice and polite at one moment, and vicious and abusive at the other, both very believably.
Andrew Neiman, if not acted or written properly, could’ve been a boring, stereotypical ambitious teenager. Fortunately Miles Teller presents a very convincing performance.
The only flaw I could think of was actually the intensity of Simmons’ performance. Don’t get me wrong, he’s brilliant most of the time but there are moments when he goes a little too over the top to the point where he becomes humorous.
Apart from that Whiplash is an amazing film and, in the words of KG’s Movie Rants (see his review here) “It draws you in, plays on your emotions and takes you on a ride that you won’t soon forget”.
I give Whiplash an outstanding 10 out of 10.
UPDATE: I’m going to Uni this week so if you see this the next morning I’ll being moving into halls by then.
I have no idea how much time I’ll be able to dedicate to blog writing and video making but I’ve got a good feeling it won’t be much.
I’ll definitely try to make a few posts and videos before the New Year. Until then you can check out my latest video here, it features a new character that’ll hopefully be as present as Metalico is.
In the mean time I’ll be doing a BA in Media Studies with English as well as writing, studying, drinking, eating, learning and living.
If anyone else out there is going to Uni I hope you have a good time, I hope I do.
So, I’ve written my review and given an update.
Until next time thanks for reading.