Whiplash – Resonant

Whiplash quad

Goodness me. What hasn’t already been said about Whiplash? A glance at the praise-filled poster below will tell you everything you need to know, should you be asking yourself “Do I want to see this film?” I’ll try not to replicate any of the superlatives already used, but in all fairness I haven’t been left with many!

Damien Chazelle has created a truly great film, through his dazzling script and vibrant direction. In casting Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Mr. Chazelle has chosen one of the finest, yet criminally underused, character actors of today and a prodigious young talent. There is neither “rushing nor dragging” when they are onscreen. J.K. Simmons prowls the practice room; the alpha-male dominating his world to the point where direct eye contact from his subordinates is avoided. His pitch-perfect rendering of a teacher/ mentor/ conductor, prepared to go beyond the boundaries of acceptance in order to find that one “special” musician is utterly captivating.

W Teller Simmons

Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman & J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher

Miles Teller instantly catapults himself into the spotlight with his performance as 19-year-old drum student Andrew Nieman. Mr. Teller does a wonderful job of creating a character who is prepared to sacrifice everything in order to achieve his goal, showing an internal focus and drive that is clearly required to reach the top. While essentially a two-hander, special mention must also go to Paul Reiser, who plays Andrew’s father and Melissa Benoist as his “love interest”. Both provide a richness and believability to the roles that further imbue Whiplash.

Paul Reiser as Jim Neiman

Paul Reiser as Jim Neiman

Some may see this as a film about bullying, but that would be too perfunctory a statement. Whiplash posits “What are we prepared to withstand to achieve our goals?” Clearly, our antagonist does not/will not see his actions as those of a bully. The belief that true greatness can only be achieved through negative actions – to push someone through and beyond their “comfort zone” – is intrinsic to his methods. The culmination of Whiplash – while not providing any real form of closure – to a certain extent answers the question raised and certainly leaves the audience wanting more.

Melissa Benoist as Nicole

Melissa Benoist as Nicole

While I have seen some very good films so far this year, Whiplash is by far and away the best to date! Sparkling with intensity, Whiplash is a tour-de-force, captivating the audience with an intensity that does not let up. Go and see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Whiplash – Resonant

  1. I’ve come to your site via empire and I think your reviews are good, but I wish you would write more! You clearly have insight and your writing is strong, but 400 words for a film like whiplash feels a bit light. I think a bit more depth and analysis would bring your posts to the next level, and this reader would definitely like more of your thoughts on some of the excellent movie fare to hit our screens of late.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. It’s great to hear that you enjoy reading my blog. I’m all for brevity when the need arises and I certainly don’t wish to make light of any great piece of cinema – such as Whiplash – by the lack of a word count. I suppose it’s a bit catch-22 – finding a balance between writing a blog that’s not too wordy but has enough content to make it an interesting read without it feeling light. I’ll certainly take your point on board and hope you continue to enjoy reading my reviews. If you are looking for something more in-depth, then please consider reading my academic piece on Heaven’s Gate – hopefully you’ll find it interesting. Many thanks once again.
      njpb ๐Ÿ™‚

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