REVIEW — “Whiplash”
Whiplash is about Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) and his determination to become the next great jazz drummer. He is accepted into a prestigious jazz ensemble, taught by Terrance Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Terrance is a terrifying teacher who will stop at nothing to push his students beyond their breaking point with the sole purpose of creating great musicians. Neyman quickly learns that Fletcher isn’t an ordinary instructor and is faced with the choice of how much he will tolerate and sacrifice to realize his dream.
The music in Whiplash is phenomenal. I wouldn’t consider myself a jazz fan to begin with, but that didn’t prevent me from being drawn in and consumed by it. Each piece is more thrilling than the last and even left me breathless at times. The cinematography is equally mesmerizing and perfectly complements the musical performances. Even though I was glued to my seat, my eyes were dancing all over the vibrant concert scenes. Whiplash is one of the most musically immersive films I have experienced.
The performances in whiplash couldn’t be more perfect. JK Simmons is deliciously terrible. His ruthless insults crack like a whip and his very presence in the film never ceases to intensify. I am fortunate that I have never had a teacher as horrible or relentless as Simmon’s character. However, despite how extreme it was, his performance sparked my own intense teenage flashbacks of being put under pressure by my music instructors.
Miles Teller also gives a consistently exceptional performance throughout Whiplash. His character’s evolution is the most compelling part about this film. He begins an eager student and, through his sacrifice and relentless pressure from his instructor, becomes an insatiably determined musician. Frankly, the hunger that develops in his eyes towards the end of the film is creepy as all get out and it. is. awesome.
Whiplash is a riveting and intoxicating film. The music is electrifying and the performances delivered by Teller and Simmons are superb. The themes will leave you both inspired and conflicted in the best way. Whiplash is a tense and exhilarating film that will have you buzzing long after the credits roll.