A film review: 'Whiplash' pounds!

Origin: United States · Language: English
Director & writer: Damien Chazelle
Genre: Drama · Release: January 16, 2014

Casts: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons,
Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser

More info: IMDb

My reviews are all over the place right now! Damn it! No matter. It's finally time to address about the worthiness of the hype that Whiplash have been buzzing amongst critics and filmgoers. The reasons why I wanted to watch this movie are as follows:

  • It bears the name of Iron Man 2's antagonist
  • I am fond of drums in songs even though I only touched the real thing once or twice in my life
  • The new Mr. Fantastic and that annoying hack in the Divergent film series is leading a universally-praised film together with J. Jonah-Fucking-Jameson
  • Finally as of late, because I learned of Melissa Benoist's (my current crush) involvement
However, as I watch this film, the second reason resonates more than the others and then some, with the final reason kinda reminds me of how sort of disappointed I was on the underutilisation of Samuel L. Jackson in The Goodfellas. But I can't be too mad at that, since they are not the focus here.

Enter the riveting drama centered around the world of jazz music written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Miles Teller does a tremendous job as a student who knows what he wants and what he's doing with his natural drum-bashing talent, despite having to endure the psychological bashing of his equally convincing co-star J.K. Simmons as his music instructor Terence Fletcher. And that sentence is enough to tell you that it's all about these two rather than everyone else in this film, because fighting for a passion is really what this film is about, and all they really did was holding Andrew back in my opinion.

This focused storytelling practically reinvented and satirised the tropes done by so many films with similar narrative framing of a new kid enrolling on a prestigious high school trying to be a part of something that usually amounts to a competition of sorts, that cheesy crowd-cheering finale, and the part where the kid gets to bone the girl of his dreams. Genius writing right there.

Technical-wise, I was mindblown. The editing and camera trickery are pretty damn slick. What? There's a magic show here? Really? Even with all of that intense drumming? Yes. And it's almost believable. It's so believable, I actually thought Teller really did bash the jazz drums at a speed of sound all on his own, when in reality, he actually has a double who also co-stars, and the editor does a fine job in obscuring the intensity of the hard-to-watch scenes involving Teller and Simmons and the jizz-inducing drum solo on the final act.

I have never seen anything like this and it was very immersive, as if we all were Andrew who bashed his literal blood, sweat, and tears out onto the drum kit just so he could pursue his passion. I don't even know how to end this review. It's just a brilliant masterpiece to come out of a film using recycled plot device. Highly recommended!

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