Movie Review: Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash poster

Plot: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Rating: 8/10

I watched Whiplash earlier this year but somehow I’ve never gotten around to reviewing it – preposterous, because it is really good.

 I enjoyed Whiplash very much. Miles Teller proves the faith I’ve put in him. I haven’t heard ANYTHING good about Fantastic Four, so we won’t talk about that, he did well enough in Divergent (although that whole franchise now borders on the Meh scale pretty high) and he even has a romcom thing under his belt from That Awkward Moment, and I really enjoy the guy when he is on screen.

Teller walked into Whiplash and shattered all previous records of how well a relatively new actor could fare in such a serious film. He is fantastic as Andrew. Andrew is a complex, layered character and it is admirable that such an inexperienced actor pulled this off. I think Teller and Andrew have some similarities – they are both incredibly talented and very determined to be a success (hopefully Teller’s determination is slightly healthier). Andrew is not only determined to be famous, he wants to be the famous name in the jazz world. His mental health is questionable, because while a drive to reach the top of your field is admirable and expected, he comes across as overzealous and unstable. I think if you are not some martial artist, blood is never an indication of the success of your work.

Whiplash 1

JK Simmons as Terence Fletcher… wow. This guy is such a horrible person and he justifies his actions by claiming he wants to produce greats in the music industry. Every time I thought I couldn’t dislike him more than I did he went and did something that proved the complete opposite. JK Simmons deserved that Oscar. He was phenomenal and brought Fletcher to life few other people could have done.

I thought the camera work was beautiful and clear and accentuated the music and instruments especially. The final scene brought the movie to its crescendo – you think Andrew will get his traditional ending but that end is so much more worth than what would have been “pleasing”. Whiplash is deservedly one of the best movies of 2014. I think it might shift the balance in the top ten rankings of 2014 when I revisit that after I’ve seen the movies I still want to get to of last year. It is a great watch but heavy, so watch it if you are willing to be blown away!