- Directed by: Damien Chazelle
- With: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist
- 107 Minutes
Probably one of this year’s biggest surprises and the defying revelation of Milles Teller as an amazing actor, Whiplash is a powerful and captivating look on the life of a prodigious guy who wanted to become one of the greatest drummers in the history of Music. With a sublime performance by J.K. Simmons, who left me stunned during the entire movie and with one boy’s struggle to achieve greatness, Whiplash is an engaging triumph that deserves to be seen and heard. The movie follows the story of a young drummer, Andrew, who is attending a prestigious music academy and whose dreams allowed him to become a talented boy. Andrew’s amazing talent allowed him to become an acquisition of the most respected professor at the school, Fletcher, a man who believes so badly in excellence that doesn’t hold back on abuse towards his students, even when they’re doing great. So Whiplash becomes this curious and amazing fight between the talented student who was giving everything he got to reach greatness and the odd professor who by pushing Andrew even further, sometimes in a rude way, sees at last a promising boy able to achieve excellence.
Whiplash is an energetic movie that leaves no room for disappointments and a captivating story that influences its viewers to try harder when they’re doing the best they can to achieve life’s goals. First there’s a determined Milles Teller playing a boy who had all the needed talent to become an amazing drummer… A brave young man who spent his days practicing in school, always pushing himself harder and always putting music in the first place… Andrew had the support of his friends and family but his dedication forced him to forget about his limits. Even with a caring girlfriend, Andrew had trouble to conciliate everything in his life. So yes, from what I’ve told, Andrew represents the usual talented guy we see in movies pursuing his dreams… But the truth is not that simple because when Fletcher appears in his life, Andrew is “attacked” in a brutal way that challenges him to do an even better work. This way, the already determined young boy becomes a “war machine” commanded by a teacher who is committed to find the next big drummer. Fletcher is a complex character with strong motivations that made him challenge his students to give their best and to not accept a good remark as an ultimate goal. Fletcher is a character one loves to hate because of all the things he represents. Even when Andrew is doing an amazing job, Fletcher gets mad about it, because it’s not good enough. So when he abusively treats his students like insignificant people who according to him, are constantly failing, it’s almost impossible to not feel a tiny bit of injustice. Fletcher is a determined teacher who looks like the meanest man alive until the moment we see he is actually able to do good things and that, like Andrew, he is only being moved by the dream of his life. And in this amazingly odd way, J.K. Simmons’s performance achieves greatness.
As a movie that sees its full potential based in two engaging characters whose relationship defies what’s acceptable in education, Whiplash left me stunned with two amazing performances. The story is definitely energetic and engaging during its entire length and the suffering Andrew goes through left me completely shocked. The way Andrew sees Fletcher’s mistreats is almost captivating because every time he hears him saying terrible things about his work, he tries harder and harder instead of just giving up. While some see Fletcher as an abusive teacher, Andrew sees him with some admiration and is always determined to impress him. It’s like he didn’t care for his own life as long as Fletcher was happy about his work.
So this odd relationship enhances the potential of a story that could have been no more than just a guy fighting for the dream of his life. Another strong point of Whiplash is its amazing soundtrack that fills the energetic pace of the movie with great drum solos. With all these great elements combined, Whiplash becomes something really special and unique that challenges its viewers by judging the characters’ actions while witnessing an intense story about determination and talent. Whiplash is a dramatic and captivating story that never loses its energy and that finishes in a majestic way.