WHIPLASH MOVIE REVIEW
By Benjamin Kuwas : Film Production University Graduate.
(4 out of 5 stars)
Reflecting upon the films that were nominated for Best Picture at the 87th Academy Awards, Whiplash was the only one that truly excited and thrilled me. The film won three Oscars (Best Actor in a Supporting Role-J.K. Simmons, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing) out of five nominations and received critical acclaim. The premise of the film is of a student jazz drummer (Miles Teller) who seeks the approval of an oppressive teacher (J.K. Simmons) raising some really interesting themes and issues.
Whiplash is a great showcase for Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons’ incredible acting. Miles Teller truly comes into his own in Whiplash, his character really makes you think about dedication and how far you are willing to go for your dreams. Whiplash really engages the audience because you continuously root for Andrew Neimen (Miles Teller) to overcome the ruthlessness of Dr. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Miles Teller gives a blistering performance that was praised yet should have received more love during the awards season, he gave such a convicted and dedicated performance. There are certain shocking moments in the film that question Neiman’s determination and make you think about whether you would do the same or not, yet some moments in the film really help you admire his character.
Speaking about Neimen’s opposition (Fletcher) J.K. Simmons gives an immersive performance as a dictator of a teacher. J.K. Simmons became the favourite of the awards season, eventually winning him an Oscar. He’s an actor that has worked hard and finally his work is paying off, he also starred in Juno, Up in the Air and the Spider-Man trilogy (2002-2007) and finally is receiving the recognition he deserves. The interesting thing about Fletcher’s character is that you understand where he is coming from, but that in no way condones his actions. Fletcher believes that you must push people over the edge in order to become more than great, and he will use any method necessary in order to achieve his goals.
There’s a really interesting scene later on in the film where Fletcher explains his reasoning behind his “teaching methods”, what really stuck out was how he was not remorseful about the people he has hurt in the past or over the course of the film. Neiman counteracts his argument by suggesting whether there is a line of how far to push people, this creates a really good talking point.
Whiplash has a very raw and stripped back feel to the film, allowing the performances to shine through and to be as real as possible. It allows the shocking moments to have real gravitas and causes them to be more impactful. The film will leave you with your heart racing and trying to make sense of the true meaning of the film.
The great thing about this film is that it isn’t just about a jazz musician trying to impress his teacher, it is a lot more than that. It is a psychological drama that makes you question why you make certain choices in life, are we doing them for ourselves or other people? Are we trying to do it because we love it or just want to be recognised? That’s what makes Whiplash brilliant, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and continually asks the audience questions and engages them with the events of the film as the unfold.