Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, Melissa Benoist, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
“Whiplash” is like a real world take on “Fame”. I’ve dealt with teachers like band leader Fletcher that push you to the point of wanting to commit a felony. But, they also reveal aspects of themselves in that push. Nobody develops a skill in a craft, then stops to become a teacher. I’m not talking about basic education or institutional learning. I’m talking about those artisans that learn a craft and then fate pushes them into instructing brats in that art. Nobody goes from Concert Pianist to giving Piano Lessons without some mental baggage.
Miles Teller thrives in a role that would’ve collapsed under an average young actor. He takes the abuse of Fletcher and absorbs it into something transformative. I’m not a drummer, but I watched the film with a classical percussionist and he was blown away. What we both found most impressive was the focus on the physicality of the drumming. Director Chazelle keeps the shots and tempo so tight, that you almost feel Teller’s sweat fly off him and hit you in the face.
Still, the audience’s attention will return back to J.K. Simmons’ Oscar worthy performance as Fletcher. I heard from a ton of people that believed he was too mean and that this character couldn’t possible exist. Well, they do and they’re not always working at 11. These are people dedicated to passion, but they know that they have to mold a new generation of artists for the harsh world. Some might come across as mean bastards, but the world is made of mean bastards. You need a mean bastard standing over you and making you commit to these thing you hold so dear. If you can’t make the commitment in the worst of times, then it was never really something for you.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!