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There are many remarkable things about Whiplash:

The fact that it is (pretty much) the feature debut of writer/director Damien Chazelle. Directed with a stylish, yet understated hand. Just beautifully put together. There were technical problems at the showing we were at. As a result, we saw the opening 5 minutes or so about three times. The cut that introduces JK Simmons‘ band leader Terence Fletcher (everyone wants to be in his band) is just masterful. And, almost as cool as the pan up from Rick’s signature.

The fact that this is based on Chazelle’s own experiences (“based”). If we ignore the absolute horror of that, after the fact this might actually be the key to what makes the film so brilliant. It’s not just a portrayal of obsession or dedication; it’s an expression of what he personally experienced. And, a damn compelling one too.

Of course, there’s Simmons’ performance. Yup, cuddly, saggy faced, empathetic Dr Skoda killing all bets at the Oscars®, by turning in a terrifying portrayal which, though monstrous never becomes inhuman. He really is spectacular. Yet, never does he overshadow Miles Teller in the lead – as Andrew Neiman, the pompous little douche wanting to succeed in his band. The entire cast is handled brilliantly.

But mostly; it’s an action movie, just with drums not guns. Every time young Andrew picks up his sticks he is going into battle. There is a real sense of jeopardy for the character (which I believe all drama theory books will tell you is essential). There are drum solos in this film that will have you on the edge of your seat. Now, there’s a phrase I would never have even imagined, never mind imagined using it.


Written by Tony Kiernan

01 February 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Film

One Response

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  1. […] were others. The Oscar fair being particularly good. (Birdman, Whiplash, Foxcatcher.) A couple of brilliantly acted indies; Missippi Grind and 99 Homes. I’m not […]

    2015 |

    30 December 2015 at 5:42 pm

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