Monday, December 15, 2014

Whiplash - Review

Andrew (Miles Teller) is an anti-social, freshman student at the Shaffer Conservatory in NYC. His drumming skills impresses the school's Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who inducts him into the jazz band as the drum alternate, only to then verbally and physically abuse him to achieve perfection in his craft, which causes Andrew to further spiral out of control. WHIPLASH is an excellent thriller, generating a dark tale of the artistic relationship between a conductor and his performer and an electrifying musical romp of the delirious sensation that is jazz. Making a huge splash at this year's Sundance, this is the feature-film directorial debut of Damien Chazelle, who clearly has a great future ahead in this business. The editing is impeccable, the cinematography is brilliantly scoped, the story keeps you on your toes, and of course the musical score and sound mixing is an overdrive of exhilarating fury. But what clearly makes the film a true watch is the acting; Teller taps into some dark areas to show off his character's disturbing personality and fierce prowess on the drums while the absolutely amazing Simmons exhibits a chess-like mind and charismatically despicable behavior. Though I do praise Chazelle's script for its twisty nature and focusing on why jazz is America, it relies heavily on crazy circumstances and melodramatic blowouts. Plus, despite a breathtaking ending, the cathartic release of the film's tension already happens at the end of Act Two, so the story has to quickly assembly another "have your cake" moment. Still, this is a great release and a true highlight of this year in film.


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