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Whiplash: A Review

Directed and Written by Damien Chazelle

Music by Justin Hurwitz

Cinematography by Sharone Meir

Whiplash is a visceral and electrifying journey from start to finish. It begins by bringing us right into the moment of when Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a 19 year old with a dream and drive to become one of the greatest drummers who ever lived, encounters Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, Oscar Nominee for the Best Supporting Actor) a conductor with the highest expectations, along with an aggressive and large personality looking to bring brilliance from his musicians even if it destroys them.

J.K.Simmons spots Tellers natural ability for drumming and brings him into the world of high class competing musicians and begins to pile his expectations on him, using mind games and intense criticism to bring this out. Simmons plays his supporting role with psychotic brilliance, striking fear into his musicians. He is both terrifying and hilarious with his insults. As someone who has played in music bands in the past, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of being told off or embarrassed. However, Simmons brings a new meaning in being compulsively terrifying. Teller brilliantly captures the drive and desperation of Andrew, bringing his character to life which really helps to bring out an amazing performance from both him and Simmons as they bounce off each other throughout.

I love finding out facts about movies after seeing them. It helps me see them from a different angle and appreciate how the movie was made. Whiplash has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, making it one of the lowest grossing movies ever to be nominated and was shot in only 19 days which is outstanding. Miles Teller, who has played drums since he was 15, received blisters on his hands due to the vigorous, unconventional style of Jazz drumming. Because of this some of his own blood was on the drumsticks and drum set as a result, showing his true dedication to the role. For the slapping scene, J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller filmed several takes with Simmons only miming the slap and for the final take, Simmons and Teller decided to film the scene with a genuine slap. That is the take they decided to put into the film.

Whiplash is a top quality film; one of the best from this last year and is sure to do incredibly well in its five Oscar nominations. It is a movie overflowing with music and vibrancy; the cinematography captures a close observation of life and music, really taking full usage of the precision and timing of the music to bring it to life. This film is best appreciated on a big screen with surround sound. I would highly recommend watching it as it’s been one of my favorites from this year.

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