★★★★★ – “An inspiring, energetic, engaging masterpiece.”
Whiplash is written & directed by Damien Chazelle and stars Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang and Chris Mulkey.
A promising young drummer enrols at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realise a student’s potential.
Whiplash is simply outstanding. Beautiful cinematography, incredible lead performances and an energetic soundtrack. If there were ever such a thing as a perfect film, it would be like this.
It’s been just over a year since I first watched Chazelle’s impeccable Whiplash, and since then I have re-watched and studied it many times. As a composer, and a fan of jazz music, I may be a little biased. However, with such critical acclaim, I can’t be the only one raving about this film.
Miles Teller leads as the promising young drummer, Andrew Neimann, who dreams of becoming one of the greats. Teller showcases an ensemble of emotions, and without a doubt delivers his best performance yet. He decided to learn the drums (again) and play all of the pieces you see performed in the film, live, just to be that little more convincing. No doubles, no camera tricks, it’s really him playing. Of course, to make the music consistent with the cuts, and to be of high quality, they dubbed his already recorded takes over his (very real) playing. Teller now stands as one of my favourite actors, from just this role alone. J. K. Simmons is delightfully dislikable as Fletcher, pushing Andrew to the absolute edge and eventually corrupting his mind and changing his life forever. The writing for Simmons’ character is genius. There are many memorable one-liners and skilfully performed scenes throughout. Chazelle has put so much work into the story, characters and screenplay, and it shows.
The soundtrack features many electrifying jazz pieces and an original score by Justin Hurwitz. Every cue, every scene, every piece, is perfectly placed throughout the film and only adds to the brilliance displayed not only on-screen, but behind the scenes.
As I’ve mentioned before many times, I always keep an eye out for camera work and how a director chooses to tell their story. The cinematography in Whiplash is stunning. There’s a subtle colour grade over the shots, nothing distracting, feeling very appropriate for the mood of the film. Another item to look for is the editing. It’s skilfully fast-paced and feels wonderfully fluent.
Everything about this film is so vividly engaging and exceptionally thought-through. I can only thank Damien Chazelle, Sharone Meir, Tom Cross, Melanie Jones, Hunter Brown, Karuna Karmarkar, Lisa Norcia, Justin Hurwitz, Miles Teller, and J.K. Simmons, as well as everyone in the Art, Sound, Casting, Costume, and Music departments for their blood, sweat and tears in making this film possible.
Verdict; Whiplash is simply remarkable. Featuring captivating visuals, intricate editing, an exciting soundtrack and two tour de force performances from Teller & Simmons. This is definitely my tempo.
Whiplash – ★★★★★ (10/10)