Welcome to Whiplash. A film I only went to see because of its Oscar nominations, and because of its focus around jazz.
Both valid reasons, but if there is one reason that you must simply watch this film, it’s because it is great.
It tells the story of a young aspiring jazz drummer and his unorthodox mentor at a fictional prestigious music school in New York.
Throughout its entirety you feel yourself completely enveloped by the film. I was sat in my seat for at least half of the film furiously shaking my foot to the beat (which I hope was neither dragging nor rushing, but simply on point.) What I think is most captivating about this film is its portrayal of honing a skill or talent. JK Simmons’ character (the teacher named Fletcher) within the film states that the two worst words within the dictionary are ‘good job’. It raises the question of whether they are really? Does it breed complacency or encourage growth? Fletcher believes in the former which partially explains his unusual teaching methods. Is he really inspiring greatness? Or simply breaking the souls of those that have the possibility to do so?
The protagonist, Andrew (amazingly portrayed by Miles Teller) goes throughout the film fighting to reach what seem to be the unattainable standards that Fletcher sets. His fingers bleed, his relationships suffer and so does his sanity.
The film brilliantly plays with its face-paced moments as well as its quieter ones, allowing each scene the space it needs to breathe, much like the set of a drummer. It ticks along nicely, turning in different directions that you don’t see coming. This isn’t your average run of the mill music film.
Expectantly, the score is fantastic and truly on point, with the musical performances from every actor true if not completely believable.
I’ll leave with a simple note on the ending: it’s probably the best moment we could hope for. And as with the end of a performance, it ends with a bang.
If you can, go and watch Whiplash. It stays with you long after you’ve finished watching.