Whiplash is an American drama film written and directed by the young Damien Chazelle, based on his experiences in the Princeton High School Studio Band. The film is about a student jazz drummer who seeks the respect of a fearsome teacher, musician, whatever. The music in this movie is just perfect, and I have a feeling that it justifies its high rates, acclaims and awards. It can be considered a drama. The action is not boring but illogical and puerile here and there.
[source of all pictures: imdb.com]
It is nominated for five awards at the 87th Academy Awards this year, on February 22’nd, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Simmons, and Best Adapted Screenplay. I don’t particularly like the young talent, Miles Teller, the “impressive” student, not my type of favorite actor, but considering that the screenplay has thousands of flaws, maybe he was right. He seems very unfunny, it’s a feeling he left for me before, both in The Spectacular Now and my recently reviewed Divergent. I have all the time to change my feelings, or better, he has all the time to do it. I used to think Bradley Cooper was mediocre, but it was just because nobody put him on the spot. He proved to be a very good actor after all.
This “Adapted Screenplay” is based on a short one written by Chazelle the previous year, named identical, Whiplash, and starring J.K.Simmons as a teacher, etc. So it proved right to do a longer version. The good thing was that longer film means longer soundtrack, so that won. It is number 38 at the moment (February 2015), in the imdb Top 250, of the best movies of all times. It’s not a fixed place, but to be more praised than Milos Forman‘s Amadeus is almost a blasphemy. One doesn’t quite cry at Whiplash.
Excellent role for J.K. Simmons, strong words brought him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. He was very good here, as a maniacal coordinator, teacher, musician, doesn’t matter.
The film, Simmons and Teller, had a lot of good reviews, especially from “critics” that maybe are not musicians at the same time. It appears twice in the movie that genius in music is caused by practice, which is not true. Genius is genius, I hope you agree. One needs practice to entertain the genius.
Anyway, Robert Redford liked it, so it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and the public award.
Some liked it because it shows the fiery competition that drives a musician, like an athlete, with blood an a lot of sweat. Again, music was what supported all the “good” scenes.
A lot of original Music by Justin Hurwitz, but also others, like Buddy Rich, Hank Levy or Tim Simonec. A pleasure to hear it, it’s the most enjoyable thing of this whole movie.
I think the movie was very well marketed. With a small budget (around $3Mil), grossed around $10Mil only through theater distribution, so it has room enough still to go up.
Not a Best Picture though, and I want to say that my favorite now is The Grand Budapest Hotel without watching all the eight movies in competition yet. I don’t think I’ll have time for Selma, for sample, but who knows? I still dream to be surprised. A few years ago I have been surprised by Slumdog Millionaire. I’ve watched the movie and I knew I have just watched the Oscar if it will be ever nominated. When it was nominated, I was sure of it, no matter who else was in competition. The same happened with Amadeus or with Forrest Gump. By the way, Slumdog Millionaire was the first movie who really impressed me since Forrest Gump. A lot of passing and forgettable mediocre productions won the prestigious award between the great masterpieces.
Written and Directed by Damien Chazelle.
Starring: Miles Teller as Andrew Neyman (the ambitious drummer student), J. K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher (the monstruous teacher), Paul Reiser as Jim Neyman (Andrew’s father), Melissa Benoist as Nicole (a potential girlfriend), Austin Stowell as Ryan Connolly (a tease of a drummer), Nate Lang as Carl Tanner (another drummer, somehow better than “Connolly).
A 2014 release, 8.7 imdb rate out of ten, 107 minutes.
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