This movie was on fire. Both Miles Teller and JK Simmons are AMAZING but even the director (Damien Chazelle) was an unseen stand-out, somehow crafting a movie about drumming into an intensely psychotic thriller. The editing is almost violent,infusing the movie and the music with a crazy amount of energy.
Miles Teller plays a kid at an exceptional music conservatory who gets taken under the wing of a teacher (JK Simmons) so exacting that he moulds his students into better musicians, or else. And you’d better believe that threat is real. The kids in his class certainly do. Blood, sweat, and tears are all part of the visceral experience of this film.
I watched this movie wracked with tension, the kind usually reserved for a movie where the villain wields a knife, not a conductor’s baton. JK Simmons is absolutely brilliant, stunning and revolting. Each time he pulls back his hand to halt the band, it’s like he has a super power that sucks the energy out of the room. He’s like a general in front of his army. He’s erect, he’s controlling, he is bubbling rage personified.
But for me, the most fascinating thing about this movie is the way it presents such a cracked view of an abusive relationship. This man is sadistic. He doesn’t throw chairs at people’s heads just to make them play better (although he seems to believe in this motivation), he also does it because he likes. He has power, and he abuses it, and he enjoys abusing it. That’s sick, but it’s also not unusual. What’s really wrenching is that it’s not just Teller buying into it, he’s just one of three guys who are ready to be absolutely destroyed by this man, competing for his abuse, killing themselves to please an unpleasable man. They keep going back for more and it’s just so fucking despicable. And I ate it all up.
Loved reading this post! I haven’t seen Whiplash yet, it’s on my “to watch list.” But after reading your zeal for it, it’s on my “must watch really soon list!”
Yes, I think you’re right to move it to the urgent list! But there are a flood of great movies in theatres right now so I know how it is. We’ve been scrambling trying to hit threatres all over Ottawa just to see all the nominated films, and we totally failed before the Globes, but we’re redoubling efforts in time for Oscar!
Tis award season!
Its hard to keep up, but worth it!
I was the same, didnt get the chance to view all the nominees, but im glad we get a chance to redeem oursleves with the oscars! Haha
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My favorite movie of the year. Brilliant performances by Teller and Simmons, and that last sequence was one for the ages. Beautifully edited, acted, and directed, and just as intense as the very best thrillers.
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