Whiplash, is a 2014 drama film centered around music. The film is the brainchild of Damien Chazelle, who is also the mastermind behind the acclaimed movie, “La La Land”. The movie length is 1 hour 47 minutes. Revolving around Andrew Nieman played by Miles Teller, is a 19 year old drummer who dreams of becoming someone of the likes of Buddy Rich. Whiplash takes you on his journey of enduring in studio band at his conservatory under Terence Fletcher, played by J.
K Simmons who pushes him to the limit physically and psychologically. “Whiplash” showcases the relations of a conductor and its new favorite student. The movie portrays elements of how far someone will go to be the best, using drumming as a medium to channel that message. It showcases two very different characters in the movie, Andrew Nieman a shy first year student who is passionate in drumming with a dream to become the best drummer in town, who then mets Terence Fletcher his instructor who has his unique ways of unleashing his students potential to be the best.
Fletcher, is devoted in bringing jazz back to live, hence the character display elements of an impulsive and cruel perfectionist who uses fear as the best motivator to push one’s potential. Simmons did an amazing job in portraying Terence Fletcher and his borderline psychotic behaviour especially during his erratic moments from being nice and encouraging Nieman to throwing a chair at him and slapping him. Andrew have come to term on the sacrifices he had to make due to his obsession on his love for drums, to the extent of letting go those who are seen as a barrier to him in achieving his dreams such as his father and partner Nicole. Both very different characters yet set with a common goal is to be the best at what they pursuit. This movie does not portray the conventional way of motivation, it showcase terrifying teaching methods and mentally abusive methods of motivation that builds up the plot using the intimidating factor to showcase the intensity of both characters relationship in this movie.
To a point that Fletcher is shown as a volatile force in Andrew’s life, in scenes where the Fletcher wasn’t physically present it still drives Andrew to practice to a point to prove to Fletcher that he is the best for the role. The movie will leave you thoughts on how motivation and encouragement comes from different angles and perspectives. As Fletcher mentioned ” There are no two words more harmful than ‘good job’ “, explaining how complacency is builded through encouragements. The camerawork focuses on details that are crucial, depicts the important attributes that make up the film and encapsulates of the desperation of a student that longs to be the best drummer. The cinematic work creates scenes visuals matches with the character’s goals and emotion.Not only that, Chazelle created compelling moments through the camerawork that makes the audience sit at the edge of their seat through the buildup and suspense. The music and sound used fits perfectly into the scenes with the use of diegetic and non-diegetic sounds of the percussions.
Chazelle, managed to create suspense with every drum beat, as the tension intensifies and you’ll be in anticipation. It works harmoniously with each setting and element. If you’re expecting the film to inspire you in many ways to chase your dreams, you might need to look elsewhere as the intensity, roughness and physical and emotional violence that Fletcher portrays will do everything but just that.
Unless, that is what keeps you going. Fair warning that this film is rated R where those under 17 require the accompaniment of a parent or adult guardian. However, if this storyline is up your alley, it is most definitely recommended to be viewed.