← Back to Reviews
Whiplash, 2014
Dir: Damien Chazelle

Just like the music the characters' lives revolve around, Whiplash is stylish, rhythmic and intense. It focuses on the student-teacher relationship between the ambitious, probably masochistic drummer Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) and the ruthless, probably sadistic band conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). The former is driven to become "one of the greats" of jazz music, and is willing to strain his relationships, endure severe psychological abuse and draw both sweat and blood to achieve this greatness. The latter is driven to create one of the greats, and will throw everything from homophobic slurs to actual chairs at his students to push them beyond their limits.

Terence Fletcher crosses both moral and legal boundaries. Simmons' performance was stellar: a monster in a human body. Impossible to impress, extremely demanding for even the smallest of details. There is not an ounce of mercy in this character, just the idea (or maybe the delusion) that his disturbing methods will lead one of his students to greatness, and that is clear from the beginning of the film to the very end.

The final scene, the final battle, is one of the most ardent, intense scenes I have seen in the whole year. It was absolutely amazing. All of the hate, all of the passion, all of the ambition in Neyman were fiercely discharged into percussion in what became the climax of the film. It was both exciting and painful, and the exhilaration of it still lingers hours afterwards.