Jazz music has always been an enigma. Something that only a minority truly understand and for those who do, it is a passion which delves deep into the soul. In ‘Whiplash’, Director Damien Chazelle has captured the complexity, passion, soul and grit of jazz at it’s very core. This astonishing film follows young drummer Andrew Nieman (Miles Tellar) who is discovered by the terrifying and yet utterly revered bandleader Terrence Fletcher (JK Simmons) whilst studying at the prestigious Shaffer Music Conservatory. Fletcher’s unconventional and often brutal teaching techniques push Nieman above and beyond his physical, emotional and mental limits. Never before has a musical themed film portrayed the passion and literal blood and sweat that get thrown into playing music.
The film is brilliantly shot with Andrew’s brutal drumming scenes an absolute stand out. Droplets of sweat and blood drip from his sticks and cymbals as he rages through complex drum solos. JK Simmons plays the role of a lifetime as Fletcher. His presence alone is terrifying, as are the lines he delivers such as ‘are you a rusher or are you a dragger or are you going to be on MY FUCKING TIME!!’ These lines are delivered with such ferocity and brutality by Simmons and Teller begins to build resilience as the film progresses. What ensues is one of the most impressive, tense power struggles in film history. Whiplash is an absolute landmark of a film that will ring in your ears long after the final stroke!!
REVIEWED BY CHRIS McRAE