Whiplash (2014): J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Paul Reiser
Explosive! Extraordinary! Unforgettable!
"There are no two words in the English language more harmful than "good job".
- Terrace Fletcher
Whiplash is a headstrong film that literally entrances the audience from start to finish. The film theme surrounds a young man, Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), an ambitious jazz drummer student at the prestigious New York conservatory of music with an extraordinary musical gift who becomes entrenched in a personal war with Terrence Fletcher (J.K.Simmons) a hardcore and often sadistic teacher. The struggle of egos between the two is downright mesmerizing as Fletcher's goal is to find someone to play the drums at the highest level possible (Charlie Parker-like) in the music industry. The task is almost impossible and the rigors inflicted on the students and especially Neiman are brutal and cringe worthy. It reminds the audience that being the finest of anything in life requires absolute dedication, perfectionism and complete devotion to the end goal - being outstanding above fellow competitors. This often means subjecting the human spirit and body to rigorous and unimaginable feats in order to achieve the goal. Anyone who loves sports, loves to win and loves victory will eat the film up like a piece of cake.
J.K. Simmons (Best Supporting Actor 2015) is brilliant as a tyrant with an eye for excellence. The startling performance is unnerving, disturbing and gut wrenching. And, Miles Teller nails it as student on a relentless mission to succeed no matter the cost.
"Were you rushing or were you dragging?" - Terrance Fletcher
The film is completely unforgettable, moving and an absolute ride on the frailties and strength of the human condition. To be first rate at anything requires extreme measures and the cream does indeed rise to the top. Not for the faint of heart for this film makes the audience think over and over again - to achieve, to rise to the crest of achievement - the work must be done, the studying must be completed, the sacrifices must be made and in this case the physical body coordination and mental focus like all sports, music geniuses or anything else in life must obtained with pinpoint obsession and focus. Must see!