Every once in a while, a film comes along that changes something a bit more drastically than others, and in my opinion, this is one of those films. Here’s my thoughts on the critically acclaimed Whiplash.
Miles Teller plays Andrew, a jazz drummer attending the very prestigious Shaffer Conservatory, who gets a chance to play alternate for Terence Fletcher (J.K Simmons), a mocking, insulting and abusive conductor, and while he does eventually gets a chance to play as a core member, the road to a core membership of the studio band is as far from pleasant as humanly possible.
The story in itself is pretty basic but it’s the execution of it all that make it stand out. The dialogue between Teller’s Andrew and Simmons’ Terence is a roller coaster of emotion, hate and pride but every once in a while it shines through that the two have a lot in common (when it comes to music), and even if Fletcher is a hardass throughout the entire movie, one can’t seem to not feel that the reasoning behind his belligerent behavior toward his students is that he wants to drive them beyond their own limitations, to see if they have what it takes to become one of the greats. One scene toward the end in particular comes to mind, where we see Andrew and Terence share what seems a heartfelt conversation about Jazz, and we “find out” that his reasons for being such an ass is just that, to drive them further than they could think possible. It almost feels like whatever we think we new and hate about Simmons’ Fletcher is wrong and we rethink his entire character throughout.
Whatever reasons you can have for liking this film, an interest in music feels like the most important one, at least that’s the case for myself. As a former musician and a lover of all things rhythmic, the story behind the story in this film, which is Jazz, is a beautiful and almost poetic one, as the film is filled to the brim with amazing tunes. The cast does an amazing job with everything they have, and the fact that Miles Teller’s actually playing the drums himself makes it all the more astounding and it puts him on the map as far as my likes and dislikes in the acting community.
But, the person that stood out throughout the entirety of this motion picture was, and I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard this one before, J.K Simmons. The dude’s a frikkin’ monster! He’s hurling chairs, invading your personal space, berating everyone with words not suitable for any environment, but everything he does seems to come with ease. If J.K Simmons is Anything like this in real life, I’d hate to meet the guy in a dark alley, ’cause his performance in this film was nothing but Nightmare material. An absolutely magnificent performance from start to finish, and without a doubt the most deserved Oscar-win this year. Hats off to you, Simmons, you truly are worth the win!
My final thoughts on the subject is this. If you love music, and I mean music, you will love this film. If you love drama, you will love this film. If you like both Simmons and Teller, you will like this film. The plot, the soundtrack, the acting, all in all a fantastic piece of cinema and I gladly award this film with my first ever Tango’s ‘Platinum Stamp of Approval’! Now, if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest that you do, ’cause it’s a Must see for everyone that has at least some notion of what a good film looks like. Now, I’m off to watch something else to review for you all, but until then…..