The beauty of the film rests in the actors and the characters they are portraying. Andrew Neiman is a student at Shaffer, aspiring to be one of the greatest jazz drummers in the world. His dream is to be able to play as a core member in the Lincoln Center, as well as to be recognized for his talent and ability. He has determination, passion and drive to be able to achieve his dream, and many scenes would contest to that. His skills were able to transfer him to the tutelage of Terrence Fletcher, a renounced instructor that only brings the best on board.
Now Terrence Fletcher is the man to bow down to. His methods are so horrendous that an aspiring great musician cannot help but to fear and respect the man. He commands perfection to each of his students, fearless to throw anyone who he deems is unworthy of his tutelage. He easily changes personalities that he is like a parasite growing on you. He feeds on your ambition, your life, your simple stories, and uses all of that in the worst possible way. He does not care for what you do, he only cares that he achieves perfection in the pieces he instructs. He is the kind of mentor one would want if one would be driven to bring out everything in his potential. Mentors like him aren’t a rare breed; there has to be an instance where you’ve run into someone who’s a mild version of this character, someone who pushes for perfection and does not settle for mediocrity. In fact, aside from one very cold, cunning scene, his way and method isn’t what was terrifying; it was the results he was getting from Andrew.
J.K. Simmons, is a different story. His performance is so powerful that he and Teller compliment each other. There is a reason for him to be driven to perform his best because Simmons is there bellowing it out. He was a natural! His portrayal of the character was captivating that you end up fearing for Andrew. J.K. Simmons is a wonderful actor, and he manages to command the attention of the room with his work. He brings out what he can from his character and does tremendous work with it.
Whiplash manages to captivate audiences the moment the film starts, and holds that attention until the final acts. It was a character driven performance that could not be pulled off without the precise actions and direction that the film was going for. Damien Chazelle does great with his screenplay and direction, presenting an astonishing film to show for his efforts.
Final Word: Astounding film!
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist
Director: Damien Chazelle