Movie Review - Whiplash


Whiplash (2014)

Rated R: Restricted (For Strong Language)

Running Time: 107 Minutes (1 hour and 46 minutes)

Genre/s: Drama, Musical, Romance

Released on October 10 2014 (US Release Date, Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Sony Pictures Classics

Writer and Director: Damien Chazelle

  • Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman
  • J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher
  • Paul Reiser as Jim Neiman
  • Melissa Benoist as Nicole

That's not quite my tempo. Welcome once more to Dateline Movies and today, as one of our first post-centennial entries, we'll be reviewing the award-winning film that is Whiplash. You know this film was a part of my to-watch list, and it was perfect timing that I was able to watch this with my family on basic cable.
Before anything, I would just like to paraphrase what a certain Internet user said about the film, "For a non-horror movie, this sure kept me at the edge of my seat." Now that is said and done, let's go!

What is the movie about?

Jazz drummer Andrew Nieman, played by Teller (FANT4STIC) enrolls in Shaffer Conservatory, one of the finest music academies around, to reach his dreams of becoming one of the greatest musicians of all time and lives with his divorcee father Jim, played by Reiser (Mad About You). Abandoned as a child by his mother and having no musical talent within his bloodline, Andrew spends his time listening to Buddy Rich and many more jazz legends. Andrew also visits the local theater to hang-out with his father, where he meets Nicole, played by Benoist (Supergirl), and the two later form a relationship.

One day, music teacher Terence Fletcher, played by Simmons (Spider-Man Trilogy), overhears Andrew practice on his drum set. Impressed, Fletcher invites him to his band. Andrew's excitement immediately shatters when Fletcher shows off his darker, edgier and stricter side after throwing a chair at him for rushing at a practice. Andrew must prove himself to Fletcher if he really wants to be one of the greats, but at what cost?

What we think of the film?

Acting = (5/5)

I did anticipate what this film would deliver. Even though I already had my hopes extremely high because of word-of-mouth, a thought still lingered in my head when I still haven't watched it. I disguised my skepticism with ease and my strong admiration for J.K. Simmons's acting, as I have seen in his fan-favorite portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson. After seeing him throw that chair, I dropped my guard. Simmons clearly showed he was not your average, creepy professor. He is THE above average, creepy professor, who surprisingly has a just cause. You can clearly see the intensity in his face whenever he lays an offensive one-liner or unintentionally being inspirational.

Miles Teller also gave a note-worthy performance as an underdog. A newcomer to the business, I had some doubts, but after seeing him here, from the bloody punches to his drum set as well as the slightly tear-jerking break-up scene, you can already see Teller has serious potential! Although his talent may be overlooked after the recent failure of the Fantastic Four reboot, there is no doubt he might get that needed break to really cement his professional acting status. Even though Paul Reiser and Melissa Benoist had small parts in the film, their performances were great and memorable. Reiser was more than a caring father and Benoist was more memorable than a loving girlfriend. In addition, did you guys know that most of the musicians really were afraid of Simmons?

Production Value and Cinematography = (5/5)

The great thing about this film is that for an indie movie, it is done splendidly. It was a great breather for us here after all the CGI-filled movies that currently saturate modern cinema. To summarize, it's simple because the crew and the director kept it that way, and that's the way we love it.

The film is shot in the simplest form possible, and that is with a few cameras and was also made in only a handful of weeks, which we have to say, is pretty great. The one thing we don't like however are the shaky camera angles, which seem unnecessary for the film. Regardless, the movie was done beautifully!

Story, Dialogues and Flow = (5/5)

The movie prevented itself from being yet another Karate Kid redo by adding seriousness and heartfelt storytelling to an otherwise predictable formula. Yes, the script has been tested and done over and over again, yet there is something truly unique about this flick that made me smile hugely even after the credits came rolling. It might be the acting or it might be because it is a simply wonderful film, but it may be because of the amount of inspiration you can get by simply watching this. Feel like you're not good enough at what you're doing after several obstacles in your life? Watch this and you'll feel better in an instant.

Ending, Originality and Story Fulfillment = (4/5)

The beginning kicked-off a one of a kind experience to be honest. The suspense was there and all the charm it could offer. However, a lot of things were familiar, as the film was based on a tried and tested concept. You would soon care less about all of it as you continue to watch this until the end. The ending was mildly disappointing. Yeah, yeah, I was not really expecting a happy ending given the tone of the film, but at least they could give some joy to our protagonist. Unfortunately, although the cinematography was amazing (with the drum tunes and orchestra music providing heavenly harmony and the two leads performances being truly highlights), they could have at least showed us what happened to Nicole. Sure, it was said she now has a new boyfriend, but we were expecting something, I don't know, a little bit fulfilling.

Overall Evaluation = (5/5)

If your ears are sensitive to foul language, then obviously this film, isn't for you, but if you have the heart and soul for a true cinematic entertainment, then this is a must see. The acting, great. The music, truly awe-inspiring. The story, all I can give is a major A+.

TOTAL = 24 / 25 (Masterpiece)

Damien Chazelle writes and directs a really, really marvelous and truly touching movie that boasts A-List talent from its two leads and an added inspiring story that will leave an impact!

Boy, reviewing this movie makes me want to watch this all over again. Be on the look out for Damien Chazelle's next project La La Land that is to be released on June 15, 2016, which will reunite the director with J.K. Simmons and with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone joining the cast. 

Until then my good friends and by the way kindly try and ask yourself this simple question...are you rushing or dragging?  Take it easy folks!

Whiplash is available on iTunes


Post a Comment