Whiplash – brace yourself

Whiplash tellerWhiplash is an intense movie. Yes there are storylines that are a bit melodramatic and trite but it redeems itself with stellar performances given by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. Most of the movie is about jazz, but you don’t have to like the music to love this film. However I warn you – this is as much a horror movie as it is a drama.

A student attends a New York music conservatory hoping to become the world’s best drummer – one even better than his idol Buddy Rich. There he catches the eye of a teacher and band leader who recognizes his talent. But to help the boy achieve greatness this teacher employs emotional, physical and psychological abuse. In the process the student sacrifices family and love for the sake of his art.

Whiplash lives up to its name. You find yourself being tossed around on an emotional rollercoaster. Teller as the student and Simmons as the teacher are at the top of their game. The close-up shots, full of energy and raw emotion, draw you into their story and you don’t breathe until it’s over. I have never seen performances as good as these. For this reason this is a “ride” not to be missed.  LAR

Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes


One thought on “Whiplash – brace yourself

  1. I have wondered for years when someone would use the infamous Buddy Rich bus tapes as screenplay inspiration. This film made a much more clever use of it than I expected. There’s some obvious malarkey, like playing until you bleed, which can’t happen, but it looks more dramatic than hand and arm soreness. And the teacher is flat wrong that the only way to make good musicians into great ones is through fear, intimidation and abuse. Encouragement works just as well, but again, much less dramatic. The film has a point of view. It takes a stand. That’s the best part.

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