Whiplash directed by Damien Chazelle is a fast paced, rhythmically sound film that keeps you entranced by its brilliantly executed scenes and its tremendous leading roles. Some things in the film aren’t as cohesive as I would have liked but Whiplash is still an engrossing watch from beginning to end.
J.K. Simmons who plays Fletcher in the film is an absolute force to be reckoned with, from the moment that he comes on screen he’s frightening and captivating at the same time. Simmons expertly goes between a charming and friendly tutor who just wants you to do your best, to the most intimidating and cruel man you’ve ever seen in a teaching position. J.K. Simmons never once misses a beat in Whiplash, he is constantly grabbing all of your attention and he certainly is a scene stealing savant (in the best way possible). With some incredible one liners and some bone chilling antics, Simmons did not disappoint in what is certainly a performance that deserves the recognition and nominations that it is receiving.
Alongside J.K. Simmons is Miles Teller who plays the aspiring Jazz drummer Andrew. Teller also brings an incredible performance to Whiplash but it is one that takes a little while to get off the ground, at the beginning of the film he was a little flat for me and not as interesting to watch as his co-star J.K. Simmons. However near the end of the second act is when Teller finds his footing and becomes one of the most exciting parts to watch in the film. In particular at the end of the film when he is inspiring to watch and takes part in what be one of the most perfectly constructed ending scenes I’ve had the pleasure of watching in some time.
Unfortunately Whiplash does suffer from a supporting cast that is woefully under developed and ultimately leaves the back end of the film a little bare. No one other than the two main characters in the film are given any significant development what so ever, I really would have liked a little more to be added to some of the other characters in the film, not a lot but it least something would have been nice.
The same could be said for the plot of Whiplash, there sadly isn’t much of one at all, now it could be argued that this is because it was more of a character film and so it focused on its main characters, but again I would have liked a little more from the film here, it didn’t have to be anything over complicated, just something to help move the film along a little smoother and succinctly.
One thing that I adored about Whiplash though and was something that helped elevate the sections in the film where they were practising/performing the various songs, was the way in which director Damien Chazzelle shot these scenes. The fast paced cutting between the different sections of the band, the tight shots of various instruments and the nuances in which made them tick and operate, the whole movement of the scenes felt like another instrument in the performances, everything flowed so perfectly and just heightened the experience, this is never more true than in the finale to the film which begins, plays out and ends masterfully. Damien Chazelle and the people who orchestrated these scenes did an incredible job in this aspect and I loved watching every minute of it.
Whiplash is a film that comes with some faults but none of these faults ever ruined my time with it, in fact the portions of the film I loved were so good that I at times forgot about them and by the time the credits rolled and I was leaving the cinema I was smiling and more than happy with the experience Whiplash had given me.
I would definitely recommend Whiplash; this is a film that I had so much fun with and despite its problems was well worth my time and money and I think it would be worth yours as well.