Review: “Whiplash” provides drama and entertainment

Aidan Maese-Czeropski, Author

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WHIPLASH

“Whiplash” stars Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman, a jazz drummer determined to win the approval of his abusive band teacher. It is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Photo by Sony Pictures.

Damien Chazelle’s film “Whiplash” captivates audiences with its talented cast, superb script and intriguing mood, garnering five Academy Award nominations. Despite this deserved success, the film falls slightly flat in terms of character development and realistic plotline.

“Whiplash” stars  Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), an ambitious jazz drummer enrolled in a prestigious New York music school. Neiman, initially accepted into the school band as an alternate drummer, is eventually promoted to the jazz band’s core drummer. Conductor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), however, is abusive to his students, regularly ridiculing and mocking them during rehearsals. Teller’s hopes of gaining Fletcher’s approval soon turn into an obsession which rapidly spirals out of control.

The film serves as great entertainment and is captivating throughout. The cast of “Whiplash,” namely J.K. Simmons, effortlessly slide into character and evoke various emotions in the audience. Viewers easily connect with the protagonist and are engrossed by Teller’s arduous journey as he struggles against Fletcher’s harsh classroom rule. Teller’s character traits continuously evolve in the film, allowing for a dynamic and sophisticated plot.

“Whiplash” succeeds in other aspects as well. The movie’s moderate length will not bore most audiences, and the entire film is well-edited as each scene flows on to the next. The script is well written and provides intricate plot twists which will no doubt surprise most viewers. Furthermore, a vague yet constant suspenseful tone combined with as a fast-paced soundtrack created an interesting mood throughout with a positive result.

Although “Whiplash” has a large number of charming qualities, the film still faces a few problems as well. Character development is generally lacking in Simmons’ character and viewers may be disappointed to find how little he has evolved at the end of the film. The plot can also be at times irritatingly unrealistic, forcing the audience to question Teller’s motives throughout.

Despite the negative aspects of the film, “Whiplash” proved to be an exciting and dramatic film with a colorful cast, alluring plot and intriguing tone which will do little to displease any audience.

“Whiplash” is nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Although “Whiplash” is unlikely to win Best Picture, it has a chance to take home the awards for Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing.

“Whiplash”

1 hour, 46 minutes

Rated R for for strong language including some sexual references

Directed by Damien Chazelle

Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist