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Whiplash (2014)

Last week I watched one of the best films I’ve seen in ages!!

Whiplash (2014)

I’ve wanted to see this film since I bumped into a video clip of it on Facebook a while back (the scene where J.K. Simmons’ character, Fletcher is putting Miles Teller’s character, Neiman through his paces as the newest addition to his band).

I was worried that that scene would be the best part of the film but, boy was I wrong!

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a music/drama starring Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man), Melissa Benoist (Supergirl - TV series) and Paul Reiser (Aliens) among others.

It’s adapted from the writer/director, Damien Chazelle’s 2013 short film of the same name.

This is what it’s about according to the internet:

Andrew Neiman (Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer in pursuit of rising to the top of his elite music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (Simmons), an instructor known for his terrifying teaching methods, discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into the top jazz ensemble, forever changing the young man's life. But Andrew's passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher pushes him to the brink of his ability and his sanity.

It’s been a while since I watched a film that grabbed me right from the start but this one did.

Aside from my concerns that the clip I’d seen (as good as it was) would end up being the best part of the movie, I worried that, based on the subject matter it would be a bit of a niche film that only hardcore musicians would appreciate. As it happens it's a film about going after your dream and not being deterred no matter what obstacles are thrown at you.

Much like Rocky is about far more than boxing, this film is about more than drums.

It’s absolutely brilliant!

Between the performances (J.K. Simmons’ Oscar winning one in particular), the music and the story itself, it’s as close to cinematic perfection as you can get!

I’m always banging on about how “they don’t make good films anymore” and a friend of mine recently pulled me up on it. They actually do still make good films and I guess what I really mean is that they don’t make “as many” and a lot of what they do make aren’t very original.

This movie is gripping, tense, inspiring, unapologetic and thrilling. Above all else though it tells a really interesting and original story.

Impressingly, Miles Teller actually played “99%” of the drums in the film. Having played since he was 15 years old (self taught), Teller had to learn how to play Jazz since he’d formally been a rock & roll drummer. Knowing that he actually played makes the whole thing a lot more authentic. J.K. Simmons also plays piano in the movie.

There’s so much more to this film than I’d anticipated. From around a quarter of the way in I found myself grinning like a crazy person!

The finale is one of the best film finales I’ve ever seen!

If you like “good” films with brilliant performances, music, and have ever thought you were destined for more than you settled with, I highly recommend this film. You’ll be so inspired you’ll be shooting higher as soon as it’s finished. I loved it!

Seen it? Let me know.

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