'Whiplash' is one of those rare movies that leaves you stunned, absolutely dumbstruck, shaking with emotion.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons
Once in a blue moon comes along a movie that leaves you stunned, absolutely dumbstruck, shaking with emotion. And when you have discovered such a film, you treasure it forever and make everyone you know watch it. 'Whiplash' is the latest offering that joins the pantheon of such films.
Directed by Damien Chazelle with terrific intensity and maturity, 'Whiplash' is a simple story told in a tremendously affective manner. The film chronicles a wannabe percussionist Andrew (Miles Teller) trying to make it in the jazz scene under the tutelage of the deadliest music teacher in the world — Terrence Fletcher (JK Simmons). Think Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from 'Full Metal Jacket' enrolled as a music band teacher, but more upset in life — that is the kind of person Fletcher is.
The dynamics between Andrew and Fletcher are scorching. Andrew just wants to try as hard as possible to get ahead, and seek blessings from his teacher. Fletcher, on the other hand, is looking for real talent, and has no patience for anyone who won’t give up everything for music and perfection. Fletcher screams, abuses, hits and even throws stuff at people who disappoint him. Being in his music class is often worse than a military boot camp, but the film presents the character in a way where you sympathise with him for simply wanting the best. Chazelle initially made a short film on the same subject that won accolades at Sundance Film Festival, which is how he got to fund this film.
The casting of the film is also a key to its success. Miles Teller is a gem of a find — his desperation, sweat and blood are all hyper realistic. Every time he struggles to hit the drums you feel lucky you don’t have to be in his place. Simmons is certain to walk away with the Oscar for best supporting actor. Seldom do we see characters in cinema that are so powerful. His bald headed black-attired mere presence is threatening, thanks to those condescending eyes and deep voice. Every time he looks at you it feels like he is going to hit you, and yet you feel like you have to live up to his expectations.
‘Whiplash’ is also the most crowd-pleasing film in years — the final 10 minutes of the film are so electric they will make you froth in awe. The only side-effect of the film is that it will probably convince you to buy a percussion set and enroll in a class.