Whiplash

"Extraordinary"

Whiplash Review


It's hard to think of another film that leaves us quite so out of breath. Adapting his short film, first-time feature filmmaker Damien Chazelle grabs hold of the audience and never lets up, pounding us into submission with an exhilarating pace, blistering performances and never-flagging energy levels. It's an astonishing movie that reminds us of the visceral power of cinema in a story about the tenacity required to make it to the top.

At the centre of the storm is Andrew (Miles Teller), an aspiring drummer who is attending New York's most prestigious and cutthroat conservatory. His goal is to get into the elite jazz band led by Professor Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), whose brutal reputation is well-earned. A demanding, often cruel teacher, he belittles students with vein-popping diatribes. And he seems to have an extra well of bile just for Andrew, who is willing to put up with anything to be in his band. The question is whether Fletcher is trying to break him or push him to achieve even more. If Andrew hopes to survive, he might not be able to maintain a relationship with his new girlfriend Nicole (Melissa Benoist). But maybe it's worth the pain.

This is the blackest comedy imaginable, so harsh that our only response is to laugh bitterly at every hideous insult Fletcher heaps on his young musicians. Chazelle directs the film with such a brisk pace that it sometimes feels difficult to hang on for the ride, and even though some of the plot turns feel rather contrived, it's moving so quickly that we don't have time to worry about that. The entire film charges forward with the rhythms and energy of a powerful jazz riff, and even though it's often terrifying the ride is so much fun that we don't want it to end.

Teller is terrific as a young guy who's living both a dream and a nightmare at the same time, but the film belongs to Simmons, a relentless force who never quite makes it clear whether he's a good teacher or a sadistic psychopath. As Fletcher challenges Andrew's tenacity, we know we would have given up much sooner. And Chazelle's skilled direction and artistic touches make it only too painfully clear that greatness isn't something that happens by accident. This is such an entertaining film that it leaves us laughing and quivering in fear at the same time. And it carries such a satisfying gut-punch that it takes a while to recover after the credits roll.

 Whiplash Trailer



Whiplash

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 15th October 2014

Box Office USA: $5.9M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Bold Films, Blumhouse Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 198 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 8.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Damien Chazelle

Producer: , Helen Estabrook, , Michel Litvak

Starring: J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher, as Nicole, Austin Stowell as Ryan, Jayson Blair as Travis, Kavita Patil as Sophie, as Mr. Neyman

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