Whiplash – Release Date: 16th January 2015

A Tour De Force Of Emotion

Its hard to put into words just how good Whiplash is. An absolute tour de force by the two lead actors, inpsiring Jazz drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) and short-fused teacher Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), Whiplash is a character driven drama with an incredible style and flair that’s hard to fault.

The story begins with a simple drum beat; the camera pans down a corridor toward where drummer Andrew is practicisng his craft. He’s dedicated, determined and passionate about drumming and he gain this by a simple 2 minute scene in the middle of the night. From here, the story unfolds when a chance encounter arises and Andrew’s offered the opportunity to play for the prestigious band taught by Jazz teacher Fletcher. Its from this point onward that the film spirals into an incredible character driven rollercoaster of emotion. Its tense, often times shocking and all of this shot with a distinct style that accentuates every drum beat, every cymbal crash and every scream that reverberates around the room. The shocking treatment of the music players at the hands of Fletcher makes Whiplash a difficult watch at times but its ultimately the characters that keep this drama moving at a swift pace.

Of course, this hard hitting drama couldn’t have been possible without the excellent acting by both J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller who are simply sublime from start to finish. Thematically, there’s a lot of interesting questions raised around the price to success and obsession, with the two lead actors managing to weave all of this in a smartly written script that’s well paced throughout. The middle portion of the film does slow a little too much but this is used to good effect as a breather before the incredible climax to the film. The ending to Whiplash leaves it relatively open to interpretation whilst still answering enough of the plot questions asked throughout to make it a satisfying watch.

I mentioned before about the visual aesthetic of the film and its here that Whiplash boasts a great eye for detail. The jazz infused soundtrack helps the film move along at a steady pace and the colour and lighting complement the acting perfectly. A great array of shots are used to good effect here, with suitable close up shots making the confrontations between Fletcher and Andrew uncomfortably tense.

Overall, Whiplash is simply an incredible film. Its unique style and excellent acting help it stand out amount other character driven dramas and the oscar-worthy acting by J.K. Simmons is incredibly tense and shocking. The story delivers its narrative with confidence, and oftentimes raw emotion and shock as it tackles some interesting themes and the world of music teaching. Its hard to fault Whiplash and aside from a slight drop in pace toward the end of the film, Whiplash is a special film and one that demands to be watched.