Rent Whiplash (2014)

4.0 of 5 from 862 ratings
1h 42min
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Synopsis:
Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, in pursuit of rising to the top of his elite music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor known for his terrifying teaching methods, discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into the top jazz ensemble, forever changing the young man's life. But Andrew's passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher pushes him to the brink of his ability and his sanity.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Tyler Kimball, , Adrian Burks,
Directors:
Producers:
Jason Blum, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
Writers:
Damien Chazelle
Others:
Damien Chazelle, Tom Cross, Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
Studio:
Sony
Genres:
Drama, Music & Musicals
Awards:

2015 BAFTA Best Supporting Actor

2015 BAFTA Best Editing

2015 BAFTA Best Sound

2015 Oscar Best Supporting Actor

2015 Oscar Best Editing

2015 Oscar Best Sound Mixing

2014 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Dramatic

2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Dramatic

BBFC:
Release Date:
01/06/2015
Run Time:
102 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
English, French, Spanish
Subtitles:
Dutch, English, English Hard of Hearing, French, Hindi, Polish, Spanish
Bonus:
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Damien Chazelle and J.K. Simmons
  • An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival with Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle
BBFC:
Release Date:
01/06/2015
Run Time:
107 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Colour:
Colour
Languages:
Czech, English, French, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish
Subtitles:
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, English Hard of Hearing, French, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish
Bonus:
  • Timekeepers: Famous drummers discuss their craft and passion for drumming
  • Whiplash Original Short Film with Optional Commentary
  • Deleted Scene
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Damien Chazelle and J.K Simmons
  • An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival with Miles Teller, J.K Simmons and Damien Chazelle

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Reviews (10) of Whiplash

Excellent and original film about male obsession (and drumming) - Whiplash review by PV

Spoiler Alert

I loved this film before I even saw it, quite simply because it is a film about drumming and I have never ever seen a film about that before.

Of course, it's not really about drumming per se. It's a movie about obsession and specifically male obsession.

I would compare it to a film such as Raging Bull perhaps, maybe some scientific quest movie.

The script is tight and the performances excellent too, not only the Oscar-winning turn by the terrifying music teacher. The subplots (usual girl interest; family with competitive brothers) are limp as lettuce, but have to be - because the main plot and characters suck all the oxygen out of the story leaving no time for anything else.

By the way, it is all utterly unrealistic - no teacher would last one lesson spewing the sport of insults this teacher does, and to actually slap a student or cause them physical harm would possibly lead to arrest in the USA and maybe even the UK. Teachers such as this really do only exist in the movies. (Ditto Robin Wiliiams in Dead Poets Society).

But, so long as you can suspend your disbelief on this point, the movie is a joy, especially for anyone musically-minded.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Bang on in a good way - Whiplash review by BE

Spoiler Alert

Him of the long hard stare (Miles Teller) and him of the vicious verbals (J K Simmons) give excellent performances as drummer and instructor in this fast paced movie. Not a particularly ardent jazz enthusiast myself but could appreciate the excellent drumming sequences. These were achieved without a noticeable join as don't think 'skins' are one of Miles' special abilities. The behaviour of the instructor defies belief in this day and age when the decrying of physical and verbal abuse is not accepted in civilised society in a classroom/academy environment. I guess this movie is allowed licence to get away with it or we wouldn't have a movie!

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Must try harder. - Whiplash review by Steve Mason

Spoiler Alert

Utterly ridiculous, implausible melodrama somehow crosses Fame with Full Metal Jacket. Works a bit if you find some elements of allegory in what is at face value an unbelievable situation. Well made (hence three stars) but not actually worth making.

0 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Whiplash review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

While jazz may be my preferred music choice for relaxation Whiplash is the exact opposite tone in its dramatization of a New York conservatory. The players are required to be perfect to the point where the bodies will breakdown. Fall short by even a hair and you’ll get a chair hurled at you by the perfectionist conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). The lengths that these boys have to go through for the glory of playing is so bitterly harsh and intense that football practice seems almost tranquil in comparison.

When drumming prodigy Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is accepted as a first-year to the conservatory, he witnesses the vicious expectations first-hand. Good is not good enough. Great is not great enough. If you’re only just great, chairs fly. Neiman just cannot deliver on the tempo which angers and frustrates Fletcher to no end. Fletcher does not genuinely display any true concern for his students. In addition to being physically destructive around them, he shouts and insults with the sharpest tongue. Not a shred of empathy or compassion is shown as he fears pulling back will hold these students back. He will not settle for anything less than the greatest jazz musicians out of his players.

Since drumming has been Neiman’s dream, he puts his all into this position. He practices and practices until his hands are cracked open and bleeding. He dunks his fists in cold water, dons a band-aid and keeps practicing. Harder and harder he forces himself to keep a tempo that he ends up going through band-aid after band-aid, blood splattering all over the drums and symbols. Even worse, Neiman now has competition for the lead as drummer of the conservatory. Pissed off at all of the alternates for drumming, Fletcher holds them in the studio for a battle of the best. Switching out player after player and cussing up a storm hoping one of them will finally hit the right tempo, Fletcher is determined to push.

Only after Neiman forces himself to the brink of a major meltdown in body and mind does he achieve Fletcher’s desires. Fletcher shouts “faster!” as Neiman struggles to keep the tempo going higher and higher. “FASTER!” he booms after kicking drums around the studio in anger. Neiman eventually hits the sweet spot just long enough to be acceptable for Fletcher. Wounds open and blood on the set, Fletcher calls the band back in stating they can now start. And that’s just for rehearsals. When the orchestra finally starts to compete in theater hearings, things grow far more intense and reach a rather violent boiling point.

As if it wasn’t implied, J.K. Simmons absolutely dominates this film as the diabolical Fletcher. He’s always been the master of the fast wit and crafty wordplay, but here he is completely in your face with his ferocity. The man is a frightening force of determination in how he condescends with vulgar words that break down even the most hardened musicians. He’s also mercilessly deceptive in how he strings along students to get the results he is seeking. The few moments where he appears calm and collected give a brief glimpse into his own psyche of how he views the makings of true jazz legends. But peer too long and you’ll be snapped back into his web of eternal shame.

Though J.K. deserves every ounce of credit for his performance, Miles Teller keeps up with him in a role just as strong. His boiling agony and frustration is present in every scene where he pushes his body to the limit. You can see that sweaty look on his face of pain and relate to that push of going just a bit further - being just a bit better. The loneliness of his sacrifices take their toll as his family seems far more infatuated with his brother’s football career. He realizes he’s going down a dark path when he makes the tough call to breakup with his girlfriend simply because he believes he couldn’t make it work with his practicing. So much appreciation lost and given up turns him into a bitter musician that begins to make costly mistakes to his playing, his education and his health.

As mesmerizing as a well-tuned band, Whiplash builds and builds on its own intensity until it eventually reaches something wonderful and worthy of its bark. The camera bobs and weaves from many different angles capturing Teller’s fast hands of music and Simmons’ fury in pacing. Both of these actors throw everything they have at the screen, throats sore and veins pulsating. Just like the goals their characters are aiming for, the two actors achieve an amazing performance from all their efforts. They are not great; they’re perfect.

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