Rarely does a film come along that is in perfect alignment: flawlessly acted, magnificently written/ directed, rhythmically stunning, an electrifying story that clings to the conscience long after experiencing; “Whiplash” is an experience not to be missed.
Miles Teller sinks his sensational skills into the role of “Andrew Neyman”; a portrait of a young man’s obscene obsession, a maniacal drive to become the greatest drummer of the twenty-first century; his frenzied portrayal borders on genius; bleeding hands, pulsating, sweat-soaked body ooze with liquid ambition; all-consuming determination, passion cauterizing, destroying balance, boundaries, normalcy; any price to rise above obscurity.
J.K. Simmons is positively profound as Andrew’s music teacher/coach “Terence Fletcher”; his gruesome, brutal, psychologically pulverizing techniques, designed to extract the best from his students/victims; scathing, pejorative, denigrating racial, sexual, physical slurs, bludgeons, flays his young pupils emotional equilibrium; only the fittest survive. Yet hidden beneath his vile vituperation lies a flimsy sensitivity; writer/director Damien Chazelle cleverly unveils this subtle streak.
Jazz, America’s indigenous musical art form evolved in the late nineteenth, early twentieth- century; spawning musical masters: Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Billy Holliday, Louis Armstrong; “Whiplash” is a phenomenal, justified homage to the genre.
Seething, permeating, defining the film is the role of a teacher/coach; blistering, emasculating intimidation, lacerating egos; where is the line drawn between coaching and obliterating cruelty; how effective are these tools? The exquisiteness of “Whiplash” it that the issue remains unresolved, debatable, enigmatic.
I wondered what you would think of this; J.K. Simmons is generating huge Oscar talk with this performance with many people simply saying that he has it in the bag (even moreso that Ed Norton in ‘Birdman’) what do you think?
Right now I would go with J.K.; “Birdman” did not generate any buzz for me> Thanks for commenting! P.