Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser
Directed By: Damien Chazelle
Written By: Damien Chazelle
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins
Whiplash introduces the viewer to the high stakes unforgiving world of the elite Shaffer Conservatory of Music. One of the best music schools in the US. Enter Andrew (Miles Teller), a 19-year-old jazz drummer, looking for nothing less than to be one of the greats. And Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a fearsome jazz maestro pushing his students beyond their breaking points, in search of a truly classic performance.
These two men seemed destined to collide, and I loved the dynamic between the tough task master Fletcher, and Andrew’s passion for Jazz. Both men obsessed by their craft, and the pursuit of perfection. The journey these characters take was never going to be a smooth one, but it would see their desires fulfilled if they pushed and worked hard enough.
The performances from Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are simply amazing, but not the only reason you need to see this film. Director Damien Chazelle does a great job of immersing the viewer in this world, and you can almost smell the brass polish, spit and sweat! And the music, oh boy, once Fletcher’s band starts performing, you’ll find that rhythm permeating through your soul as your foot involuntarily taps out the beat, and your heart starts to race. Especially during the epic final performance.
I for one forgot I was in a movie theater as I became more and more transfixed by this musical world. It’s the reason I go to the theater and watch so many movies. I know if I see enough films, I’m going to occasionally, maybe only once or twice a year, come across a movie like this. A movie so transformative that it temporarily takes over my whole world, and shows me something new and exciting. That’s how much I liked this film, and I hope you have a similar experience if you take the time to see it at your local theater.
I don’t think you need to have a complete understanding of Jazz music to enjoy this film, but an appreciation of the art form wouldn’t hurt. Whiplash is rated R for strong language including some sexual references. J.K. Simmons’ character Fletcher, doesn’t mince words!
Sharone Meir’s photography, and this movie’s epic soundtrack need to be enjoyed in a movie theater. At home, make sure you’re watching this movie on a nice big TV over a great sound system. The impact of this movie is going to be greatly diminished if you watch it on a laptop, tablet or phone sized screen.
Best Moment: << spoiler >>
The epic final performance is fantastic, and closes the film and this story perfectly.