Whiplash Review

Preface

  • Oh man…
  • If you guys hadn’t heard, Whiplash is a small-ish film that has been getting an insane amount of hype since the beginning of last year.
    • It stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as a jazz student and teacher respectively, and is really a magnetic, beautiful story about work, and being the best human being you can possibly be.
    • And it’s one of the greatest movies of 2014.
      • Seriously!

Cast and Characters

  • So let’s just clear this up: everybody in this movie absolutely kills it.
  • Miles Teller, first, holy crap!
    • The Spectacular Now was my favorite movie of last year and he was unbelievable in that, one of the best performances of 2013 by far, but this is his best work.
    • You see him getting angrier and angrier as Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) pushes him harder and harder, but that anger is actually just motivation and it’s portrayed brilliantly.
  • Show stealer. Actually, game stealer. J.K. Simmons.
    • K. Simmons performance in Whiplash is ultimately gonna be one of those that comes to my mind whenever I’m in a music classroom (period).
    • This vulgar, persevering teacher is captured in a breathtaking performance by Simmons, and he takes levels of anger (most of the time), but even goes to places of hard emotion.
    • If J.K. Simmons doesn’t win Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, there is something going on here.
      • If he doesn’t get nominated, my faith in humanity is just lost.
    • All of the characters in this movie are done really well.
      • Andrew (played by Teller) has a dad and girlfriend who pop up in the movie occasionally, but none of their appearances feel unnecessary or overused.
        • They’re never pushing it at all, we got the perfect amount of them.

Direction

  • Last year I saw a lot of indie movies, and I complemented each one for the great direction.
  • This film is directed perfectly, in every sense of the word.
  • Not only does Damien Chazelle get fantastic performances from his actors, but he makes brilliant use of all the set-pieces, makes each setting really relevant, and paints these beautiful shots.
    • Here’s the tricky wording: this direction leads to a very artsy film, but this direction in no way makes it an art film.
  • He also adds this really slow-pace to the film, which adds an extra layer of emotion when the film finally climaxes.
  • Even though the Academy is very selective, I’d love to see him get a Best Director nod.

Themes

  • If somebody told me to go watch a jazz movie about how hard work pays off, I would say, “pfft! Maybe later… Or never…”
  • This film not only captures how much hard work pays off, but it crafts this beautiful allegory of how hard each of us work in our lives to get something we want, or to accomplish something we want to.
  • Whiplash crafts these images right before our eyes and shows these images in ways that are subtle at first, but never annoy you when they aren’t.
  • Point is: you’re going to imagine yourself at some point in your life while watching this film, and you’re going to remember how hard you worked for something.
    • I know I did. And I’m still just a teenager!
  • Guys, it’s as simple as this: the only problem Whiplash has is that there wasn’t more of it. (That, and the final scene could have been trimmed down about a hair.)
  • But here is the reality: Whiplash is a brilliantly-acted, brilliantly-executed, brilliantly-paced and brilliantly-themed film that makes me walk away from it going, “huh, that makes me think a lot more about my own life.”
  • Whiplash is easily one of the best films of 2014, and Whiplash is, undoubtedly…

A 5/5

  • If it isn’t nominated for Best Picture, I can understand why–
    • –not as hefty a marketing campaign as, say, Birdman–
  • –but in my books, it definitely does.

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on Whiplash. This film has been playing, like, next to nowhere! But if you guys have seen Whiplash, let me know your thoughts in the comments down below. And as always, thanks for reading guys.

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