by | Dec 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Rookie Director Chazelle Surprises Us All With his Unfiltered Look at a Musician’s World

It’s hard to make a movie about art. It’s even harder to make a movie about an artist’s struggle. However, Whiplash goes to face the ultimate challenge of showing the formation of an artist. It would have been easy to make a biopic of a famous musician or painter, but director Damien Chazelle chooses to form his own fictional character in a fictional school. The artistry in the movie is in how immersed and knowledgeable one is of the music world when watching it, and of course the much praised J.K. Simmons is even better than expected in his abusive teacher role.

Whiplash is the story of a young drummer, Andrew (Miles Teller) who attends the most elite school of music of New York and of the world. Andrew struggles at an amateur music class as the second drummer. However, during one practice session the conductor of the rigorous and elite music class, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) walks into Andrew’s rehearsal. Fletcher only sees Andrew play for mere seconds before he picks him up to be his second drummer. During his first rehearsal Andrew learns that Fletcher abuses his students until they play with hair-thin precision, either that or they are kicked out. Andrew, nervous and young, suffers from Fletcher’s abuse to the point that Fletcher throws a chair at Andrew. However, the abuse is much more psychological and scarring than physical, and therein lies the genius of the movie.

Just like Begin Again earlier this year, Whiplash looks at the music world with realistic and raw eyes. However, unlike Begin Again, Whiplash doesn’t filter the cruelty of an artist’s world to its audience, it throws at you with shocking and appalling honesty. The film isn’t sweetened in any way, Andrew’s love interest is handled in a realistic way, the outcome of decisive scenes is believable, and best of all, the final scene is intense and explosive.

Whiplash’s intensity builds up from the moment one sits down. This tesnion is built into staggering heights so that when Chazelle wants to wrap it up one fears that all his hard work could come tumbling down. In fact Whiplash’s last quarter seems to be completely lost, one begins to shiver a cheesy ending is set up, where all loose ends are tied. But thankfully an incredible last scene is able to it wrap up expertly. It was the cherry on top that this film’s beginning sequence deserved.

The acting is very demanding. Miles Teller is pushed to the limits of his acting capabilities. We had seen him bursting from the screen in The Spectacular Now and now he has been given a role that challenges him a lot more. Mr. Simmons, on the other hand, is indomitable. He plays his character with such an angry passion that you barely breathe in fear that he’ll snap at you from the screen.

An incredibly powerful film, whose mounting tension is perfectly concluded with its final scene. J.K. Simmons’ charisma is worth every penny.








Who is the best on-screen teacher? Let me know in the comments section.

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