Whiplash (2014) Movie Review
"Are you a rusher? Or are you a dragger?"
Sometimes we want to strive for perfection even though it cannot be achieved. It satisfies us when we punish ourselves to create or achieve something that cannot be accomplished.
Whiplash is an exhilarating and magnificent movie about one's passion turned into an obsession.
We follow the story of Andrew Newman, a freshman and jazz drummer studying at Shaffer Conservatory. He dreams of being as remarkable as his idol, Buddy Rich. While he is practicing his sets at the school, Terence Fletcher, the conductor of the Shaffer Conservatory Studio Band, recruits him as an alternate for core drummer Carl Tanner. Andrew decided to attend the first practice session and discovered his strict, abusive, and manipulative teaching style. Fletcher continues to berate Andrew as he tries to deliver the perfect beat for the musical piece "Whiplash."
Andrew is determined to please Fletcher despite getting his emotions crushed by him. He continues to practice after their session until his hands bleed because he wants to perform perfectly in front of his mentor. After getting promoted as a core drummer, Andrew's pre-mature joy was taken when he was replaced by another drummer, Ryan Connolly. This pushes him further and strains his relationship with his family and girlfriend. His determination to please Fletcher is taken to extreme levels while his mentor's abusive ways continue.
Whiplash features some of the best talents in Hollywood, like Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, etc, and Damien Chazelle directs it.
It's quite difficult to express what you feel like after watching Whiplash. It's not in-your-face-exciting that lets you grip your seat. It does not contain heavy drama or humor that grabs your emotions. However, Whiplash will be remembered as one of the greatest. It's not an easy watch, yet you feel something has changed inside you.
You don't need to understand the technicalities of music to appreciate this film. You don't even have to be familiar with Jazz. However, every beat and slap to the drums felt like something was crushing into your soul.
Whiplash features themes like striving for perfection, self-appreciation, obsession, abuse, mental health, and many more. The movie raises many questions about how abusive Fletcher is and how Miles tolerates his ways of pushing himself. You can't deny Fletcher's ways are a tad too offensive, but if it brought results to make Miles to be great, then is it right to do it in the first place?
I got to give a hat off to J.K. Simmons's performance, and his menacing villain figure shows justice to this movie. He just gave the performance of his life, and his Best Supporting Actor win is a much-deserved accolade to his illustrious career.
A perfect 5 out of 5 stars.