Saturday, November 22, 2014

Whiplash (USA, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Whiplash

1. If I say this movie is about a kid who wants to be a famous drummer, it will probably make you think it's of those musical prodigy movies, about overcoming obstacles to achieve your dreams. But you would be wrong. This movie is actually more like a psychological battle in Thunderdome.

2. It's about a 19-year-old music conservatory student that named Andrew who desperately wants to become a member of a studio jazz orchestra conducted by the legendary and fearsome conductor Terence Fletcher. Fletcher sees some talent in Andrew, and gives him a shot as a drum alternate.

3. Once Andrew joins the band, however, he witnesses the cruel and demoralizing abuse that Fletcher hurls at his students when they don't do what he wants. Not wanting to lose his chance at greatness, Andrew practices to the limits of his endurance - and gets pushed to a breaking point.

4. Miles Teller plays Andrew and J.K. Simmons plays Fletcher. There are other people in the movie, but you hardly notice them. The performances of Teller and Simmons are fierce and mesmerizing - everybody else seems slightly out of focus

5. Jazz music plays almost constantly throughout the film. You don't have to like jazz to like the movie - but it helps.

6. The movie is refreshing in the way it illustrates the passion and sacrifice necessary to follow your dreams. It shows the emptiness of a culture where everybody is a winner. But it also makes you think about the line where you give up.

7. The movie is also about teaching, and how instructors push their students to achieve things they didn't think they could. But it also makes you think about the line where they push too hard.

8. "Whiplash" may seem like a weird title for a movie about student jazz musicians. But it's actually very fitting - the story slams your opinions and emotions around like a drumstick. By the end of the film, you may actually have psychological whiplash.

9. By setting an epic battle of wills in the normally stuffy reputation of a music conservatory, the movie turns a depiction of music lessons into a surprisingly intense and gripping character study.