‘Whiplash’ is pure aggressive cinema. The pace in which doesn’t let up, gliding along like the drum pieces it portrays. A drama turned thriller just due to the magnitude of tension built up between two characters that are invested in becoming the greatest in a tough musical world.
Sacrifice is evident. The pain in which Andrew (Miles Teller) goes through is not only physical but mental. He shuts off from the world, no social life, no personal life, he has one life, drums. Teller intensifies this character, a young man who will stop at nothing to reach his goals. But this isn’t the biggest controlling factor.
With the same drive, Fletcher (JK Simmons), wants nothing more than to discover a genius. His frustration and anger shine through when situations aren’t going his way. He wants to be in control, which goes too far when he abuses his student’s minds and bodies to get to where he wants to be. Simmons controls the screen in every moment, just like his characters controlling nature, emphasising this tale of obsession.
Literal blood, sweat and tears are shed to show the dedication needed to make it in this industry. An emotional ride would be an understatement when you think it’s over, the characters get pulled right back in. There are times towards the end where it seems Fletcher almost seems human, well that was short-lived. The final act is a plot of revenge, in which each character makes their mark, neither of which want to give this up, their dream. Andrew is pushed to the limit, Fletcher is the instigator, but so much hard work has been given by both parties to give up at the final hurdle.
Damien Chazelle gives this film a dark overtone, outlying the descent into self-obsession, no light in sight for either of these characters. The tension builds, and this is felt. Anger and desperation in these characters exchanges, showing this script that is powerful in delivery. This is a director that has put all the pieces together to elevate this story, a story that could easily slip by the wayside, lost in a library of average films.
Where ‘Whiplash’ may only refer to the name of one of the songs, maybe there’s more to it. With such high tempo and a “roller-coaster” storyline, this had the ability to make you stop, concentrate, stiffen up almost.