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Review: Whiplash

Whiplash
10.10.2014
10 10

Whiplash Miles Teller J.K. Simmons Damien Chazelle review Jason Blum

PLOT: A young jazz musician finds his talent, heart and well-being tested when he enters the class of a pitilessly demanding instructor.

REVIEW: Producer Jason Blum is best known for his micro-budget horror efforts; his credits range from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY to INSIDIOUS to SINISTER. But none of those films really come close to the intensity of his new production, Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH, an intimate yet pulse-pounding study of a young musician's maturation through extreme conditioning.

Moreover, none of Blum's horror movie villains are as terrifying as Terence Fletcher, an uncompromising whose methods are borderline psychotic. As embodied by J.K. Simmons, Fletcher is an intimidating a character seen on the screen in a long time; you're likely to be as scared of him as the students he dominates are.

Whiplash Miles Teller J.K. Simmons Damien Chazelle review Jason Blum

Fletcher takes the drill instructor approach to teaching, and he basically makes R. Lee Ermey's character in FULL METAL JACKET look tame by comparison. As the head of the music department in a prestigious New York conservatory, he demands nothing short of perfection from his pupils, who he attempts to motivate by any means necessary. Mind games, cruel put-downs, even hurling chairs are part of his daily routine - and that might be on a good day. He's looking for the next Charlie Parker or Buddy Rich, a jazz musician who will be the next great thing, and he suspects he might have it in Andrew (Miles Teller), a drummer he plucks from a second-tier class and installs in his own. It doesn't take long before he's crawling inside of Andrew's head, retrieving vital information from the young man before using it against him in order to humiliate him in front of the rest of the class. Any small thing you tell this guy about yourself can later be used as a tool of manipulation.

The truth is, most people would walk away from Fletcher and his constant barrage of vile insults, but those are the quitters. Andrew wants to be the best, so he must deal with one of the best, even if it comes at the expense of his own honor and reason. Fletcher puts him through the ringer, screaming at him, throwing things at him, making him drum until his hands bleed. This is traveling through hell in order to achieve perfection of beautiful, transportive music.

An unassuming young man from a broken home, with a failed writer father (Paul Reiser), Andrew is both in need of a goal and a person to push him toward it. That Fletcher is a frequently inhumane monster doesn't alter the fact that Andrew needs him, and he needs Andrew.

Both Simmons and Teller are fantastic in WHIPLASH. The former is getting heavy praise for his showy performance, and rightly so. When Fletcher is in the middle of one of his tirades - and there are many - Simmons commands the screen like a man possessed. Armed with a litany of creative, and hurtful, jabs, the actor has never been as great as he is here. This isn't to say his Fletcher is all bluster. Brilliantly, he's able to transform into a soft-spoken, good-natured father figure at the drop of a hat. Need someone to talk to? He's actually not such a bad guy, he can help. And then BAM, he's at your throat again. Part of what makes the character so insidious (pun intended) is you never know if he's being genuine or not, whether the nice guy is the real Fletcher and the dictator is the act, or the other way around. If Simmons isn't the recipient of an Oscar nomination early next year, it'll be a crime.

Whiplash Miles Teller J.K. Simmons Damien Chazelle review Jason Blum

Teller won't necessarily receive quite as many plaudits as Simmons, if only because when Simmons is on the screen it's impossible to take your eyes off of him, but the younger man's turn is no less impressive. Much of the snarky swagger we've seen from Teller in a handful of his other notable roles is gone, replaced by a tangible vulnerability that makes you care very deeply for him - even when the insanity of his encounters with Fletcher begin to rub off on his relationships with others. As the movie heats up and Andrew rises to the occasion, you feel equal parts joy and sadness for what he's achieved at that particular price. Teller announces himself as a great young talent here.

And Damien Chazelle announces himself as a great young director. He orchestrates this small character drama with the precision of a veteran filmmaker. Able to infuse every scene with a sense of immediacy and electricity, you'll marvel at just how accomplished an indie feature this is, only his second. (He also wrote the sly, nutty thriller GRAND PIANO.) The rest of his team deserves much credit too, especially cinematographer Sharone Meir, whose camera is just as restless - yet nuanced - as an expert jazz player.

WHIPLASH is a great movie, one of the - if not the - best of the year.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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-1
7:36AM on 10/13/2014
Very much looking forward to this, but I always wonder about the content in stuff like this. It's the same as Black Swan. These are movies about people who put themselves through the ringer for niche aspects of the career they choose. Drumming for Jazz and trying to achieve perfection. I guess I get it, but at the same time, I don't really. Or maybe it's just because in America, Jazz isn't a huge genre of music. I don't know. Or maybe the most famous rock stars and pop stars go through the same
Very much looking forward to this, but I always wonder about the content in stuff like this. It's the same as Black Swan. These are movies about people who put themselves through the ringer for niche aspects of the career they choose. Drumming for Jazz and trying to achieve perfection. I guess I get it, but at the same time, I don't really. Or maybe it's just because in America, Jazz isn't a huge genre of music. I don't know. Or maybe the most famous rock stars and pop stars go through the same thing as these people, although I find that kind of hard to believe. Anyway, the movie looks excellent. Can't wait to see it. Miles Teller really is an underrated talent and I hope this fixes that.
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4:43PM on 10/12/2014

I saw it twice.

Saw it at Sundance and last night at the Landmark. If anyone tells you they hate this movie, they either haven't seen it or are complete emotionless sociopaths trying to standout.

Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Acting, Best Directing. It's that simple. One of the best movies I've ever seen, and one of the best movie going experiences I've ever had. See this with a full crowd, because you are going to want to be there when the crowd applause the second it cuts to black.

One of those
Saw it at Sundance and last night at the Landmark. If anyone tells you they hate this movie, they either haven't seen it or are complete emotionless sociopaths trying to standout.

Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Acting, Best Directing. It's that simple. One of the best movies I've ever seen, and one of the best movie going experiences I've ever had. See this with a full crowd, because you are going to want to be there when the crowd applause the second it cuts to black.

One of those rare movies where it leaves you on such an amazing high, and doesn't fuck around with some slow artsy drama burnout ending. If you are having doubts about this movie, you are just being negative. Go watch it for yourself. It's not just a movie about Jazz, but about the simple desire to be one of the greats in your profession. Having someone shit all over your dreams, and prove your man enough to throw it back in their face.

It's fucking great filmmaking.
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1:19PM on 10/11/2014
Miles Teller.
Miles Teller.
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12:45PM on 10/11/2014
So foxcatcher with drums.
So foxcatcher with drums.
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4:45PM on 10/12/2014
It's absolutely nothing like Foxcatcher. Think Full Metal Jacket but with Jazz Band.
It's absolutely nothing like Foxcatcher. Think Full Metal Jacket but with Jazz Band.
+0
9:17AM on 10/11/2014
Saw the trailer for this and became quite interested. Been a fan of Simmons since first seeing him in Spider Man and have loved everything i've seen him in since, loved his bit part in Burn After Reading. As for Teller i have yet to see him in anything but he's part of whats killingthe new FF movie so yeah, dude sucks.
Saw the trailer for this and became quite interested. Been a fan of Simmons since first seeing him in Spider Man and have loved everything i've seen him in since, loved his bit part in Burn After Reading. As for Teller i have yet to see him in anything but he's part of whats killingthe new FF movie so yeah, dude sucks.
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2:42AM on 10/11/2014

I bet...

It'll suck ass. Because whenever this site gives movies 10/10 the movies are flat out terrible, and they try to sell them to you with wonderful acting and you watch it and it's like WTF were they talking about. I'll keep my mouth shut till I see it but for now I'm sticking to my guns. THUMB ME DOWN TOO> NOW!
It'll suck ass. Because whenever this site gives movies 10/10 the movies are flat out terrible, and they try to sell them to you with wonderful acting and you watch it and it's like WTF were they talking about. I'll keep my mouth shut till I see it but for now I'm sticking to my guns. THUMB ME DOWN TOO> NOW!
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3:29AM on 10/11/2014
Any other examples of movies that were rated high on here that were flat-out terrible? I don't mean movies that don't live up to the high rating. If a movie was rated as excellent and was merely good, it doesn't count.
Any other examples of movies that were rated high on here that were flat-out terrible? I don't mean movies that don't live up to the high rating. If a movie was rated as excellent and was merely good, it doesn't count.
5:13AM on 10/11/2014
If the dude who wrote this review wants too give it a 10/10 then whatever,the world keeps turning,each to his own and yada yada.May`be it is a 10/10.I haven`t seen it but want too.I do know that Miles Teller does deserve too be shouted at lately.He is turning into Shia Labeouf lite.Plus if a character is dressed all in black you know they mean business.
If the dude who wrote this review wants too give it a 10/10 then whatever,the world keeps turning,each to his own and yada yada.May`be it is a 10/10.I haven`t seen it but want too.I do know that Miles Teller does deserve too be shouted at lately.He is turning into Shia Labeouf lite.Plus if a character is dressed all in black you know they mean business.
4:50PM on 10/12/2014
After seeing this movie for myself, and having my entire theater stand and give the movie applause, I'm actually kind of pissed when I see negative people like you.

You literally haven't seen this movie. At all. Why the fuck do you even care about what someone says? Because they recommended you watch it? Because it's the best movie they saw all year? Fuck you and your negativity right out the gate.

People like you make movie sites suck. By the way, the movie will kick your ass. It's an
After seeing this movie for myself, and having my entire theater stand and give the movie applause, I'm actually kind of pissed when I see negative people like you.

You literally haven't seen this movie. At all. Why the fuck do you even care about what someone says? Because they recommended you watch it? Because it's the best movie they saw all year? Fuck you and your negativity right out the gate.

People like you make movie sites suck. By the way, the movie will kick your ass. It's an absolute astonishing achievement, and that's before you realize they shot it in 19 days. It's perfectly paced, well acted and has an amazing soundtrack. Best ending of any film I've seen in years.
5:58PM on 10/10/2014
Whiplash is the best movie I ever saw in my life !
Whiplash is the best movie I ever saw in my life !
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6:04PM on 10/10/2014
Well this is what happens when you only watch Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry movies.
Well this is what happens when you only watch Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry movies.
5:28AM on 10/11/2014
Whoa whoa whooooa.Eveyone knows that Fight Club is the best movie ever made.
Whoa whoa whooooa.Eveyone knows that Fight Club is the best movie ever made.
3:05PM on 10/10/2014

Sounds good but...

Jazz? Ugh.

If Christopher Nolan was a musician he would play jazz.
Jazz? Ugh.

If Christopher Nolan was a musician he would play jazz.
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3:28PM on 10/10/2014
Probably not. Jazz is very improvisational; Nolan's films tend to be very precise and meticulously plotted. It's tightly woven, not loose, which makes it the antithesis of jazz.
Probably not. Jazz is very improvisational; Nolan's films tend to be very precise and meticulously plotted. It's tightly woven, not loose, which makes it the antithesis of jazz.
6:57PM on 10/10/2014
It depends on the type of Jazz. There is great, fun Jazz, rocking Jazz, smooth Jazz, and [link] Jazz. I guarantee you could find a Jazz musician or band that played a style you'd enjoy. The problem is that the word is a catch-all for dozens of styles.
It depends on the type of Jazz. There is great, fun Jazz, rocking Jazz, smooth Jazz, and [link] Jazz. I guarantee you could find a Jazz musician or band that played a style you'd enjoy. The problem is that the word is a catch-all for dozens of styles.
1:32PM on 10/13/2014
Moron
Moron
1:32PM on 10/13/2014
Moron
Moron
1:32PM on 10/13/2014
Moron
Moron
3:00PM on 10/10/2014
Miles Teller = no sale for me. I can't spend the entire running time preventing myself from approaching the screen and trying to punch his face. Can't stand him.
Miles Teller = no sale for me. I can't spend the entire running time preventing myself from approaching the screen and trying to punch his face. Can't stand him.
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3:45PM on 10/10/2014
10/10 here, 96% on RT out of 74 reviews, winner of Sundance's Grand Jury prize all out balanced by you're lack of self-control?
10/10 here, 96% on RT out of 74 reviews, winner of Sundance's Grand Jury prize all out balanced by you're lack of self-control?
6:52PM on 10/10/2014
Yes. I cannot watch him. He aggrivates me to no end. There are plenty of movies I haven't seen, I'll just watch one of those instead.
Yes. I cannot watch him. He aggrivates me to no end. There are plenty of movies I haven't seen, I'll just watch one of those instead.
-3
2:56PM on 10/10/2014
Looks and sounds awesome, but I swear to God if some studio picks up this director who has apparently shown a lot of potential in this film for a big budget franchise, and he hires teller and maybe Simmons too, it'll be terrible, and such a piece of shit to all of is true fans of the source material!!!! But ya I'll prolly check this out.
Looks and sounds awesome, but I swear to God if some studio picks up this director who has apparently shown a lot of potential in this film for a big budget franchise, and he hires teller and maybe Simmons too, it'll be terrible, and such a piece of shit to all of is true fans of the source material!!!! But ya I'll prolly check this out.
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2:42PM on 10/10/2014
I have been really looking forward to this.
I have been really looking forward to this.
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