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Film Review: Whiplash

Updated on March 4, 2015

The film: Whiplash

I had heard a lot about the film Whiplash. This mainly came from Mark Kermode - not that I know him, I just follow him of FB of course. Now, my tastes and Mark's seem to have a somewhat unison or a total inharmonious coupling.

I read the review which stated that, 'Whiplash is almost a war film but within a music setting and through the eyes of a young and hopeful drummer' Say what you want about that caption, it is certainly intriguing - I had to watch the film, and now I have..

Whiplash is the tale of drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and we see him during his first year at a best-of-the-best music college. The guy is clearly talented, but so it seems is everyone. Is that enough? Which is the crux of the whole film really - is talent enough?

Andrew Neiman's nemesis - or catalyst for greatness - is Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), his drill sergeant-like Conductor. Fletcher quite unapologetically - and never calmly or collectively - rips apart his students, destroying the weak and replacing those who can't quite keep up.

I have to admit. It did not take me long to get into this film. It wasted no time in shattering the cliché film of a young guy trying to make "it", and this young man does just that in the end, but he does it through the help of a nice thoughtful man.

Turn that upside down and you are quite close how the film works.

Now, it could be said that the last bit is totally and completely wrong. It could be that Fletcher is in fact making some really great musicians by holding them up to a near impossible standards and being tough on them in order to push them to push themselves.

There is also the romantic element when Neiman finally plucks up enough courage to speak to a girl at the cinema he has seen a few times. The cliché that has served many films well in the past is also shattered - I am pleased to say!

It is pretty exciting to watch Neiman gain in confidence throughout the film and we see this in a very natural way. This confidence comes at a defiance of his Conductor - Fletcher but it also comes from the family scenes we see. You know that Neiman has been biting his lip for so long and that his Father is showing interest and encouragement but he is also sneaking in seeds of doubt at the same time.

The film mainly deals with Neiman trying hard to live up to what Fletcher requires and wants and sees Neiman literally breaking himself to pieces on many occasions to show he is willing to do and be what it takes to be a great drummer. to be a legendary drummer. It seems, doing what you are told, is not will make you great.

The main focus during the film is on a very big event in which the whole band/jazz orchestra have to play. Now, playing is one thing but playing without a single mistake is another. Will the pressure be too great? You should watch and see for sure!

8.5 / 10

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