Whiplash (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + UltraViolet]
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Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Terence Fletcher, an instructor known equally for his teaching talents and his terrifying methods, discovers Andrew and transfers him into his band. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection soon spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability and his sanity.
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In this case, it centers around a guy who never feels understood. He’s attending the most prestigious music school in the country and is constantly working to be ‘one of the greats’. Who, in his eyes, is someone like Buddy Rich. Then unexpectedly, he’s given a chance to prove his chops on the renowned studio band instructed by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). He’s soon met with Fletcher’s abusive teaching tactics and is continuously tested under pressure. The question is, can he withstand.
It tests the psyche of a young man and shows how far a person will go for something they love and want to do for the rest of their life. That being said, it’s a harsh movie. The audience is thrown right into the pressure cooker along with Teller, and if you’re not ready for it, it can be unsettling and scary. But that’s one of the main reasons why I liked it. Not only does it test the main character, it tests the viewer. You also can’t deny the masterful performances on display and finesse that the director brings along with them. Needless to say, this is a must-see. If I had seen it in 2014, it would’ve undoubtedly made my top ten.
The portrayal of the teacher, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is comically over-the-top. He screams profanity and insults at his students, he throws instruments and even slaps students in the face. He rants about how it is so bad to hear "Good job", saying it breeds complacency. What I don't get is why the story seems to ultimately justify his methods. The film references a story about Charlie Parker but they have got it all wrong. There are so many loony depictions of music and musicians that I wouldn't know where to begin, but they should have done some research.
There are some decent story elements outside the school and some find the dramatic fire of Whiplash to be riveting stuff but serious musicians will likely be shaking their heads at most of the shenanigans, perhaps similar to the way that dancers viewed Black Swan. The whole exercise is all very silly and it appears that Hollywood has duped the audience yet again. And I don't get the idea that outrageous or intense performances equates to great acting. I think this film makes most involved look foolish, although mainly the director.
Rated R (USA) and 15 in UK. Consistently foul language and some content may be disturbing to some viewers.
Although music is profoundly human and through it, humans strive for beauty, what happens when the striving for excellence takes takes place in a context that takes away both the humanity and the beauty? The film asks other questions: what do you make of a world that hurts and smears dozens so that we can praise one? How do you interpret the success of the olympian whose victory in a race is measured in hundredths of a second? Why do we seek to determine winners in this way and why do we create such insecurities that people are willing to give up their humanity to look for the praise that comes from this kind of excellence? The film ends on a fabulous, existential note. Did I mention the music is incredible? I hate to say it though...
On the down side: The representatives of what I would call "grace" in this film are weak. Of course, when we encounter weak and cheap grace, we are not drawn to it. We may even denigrate it. Throughout the film, we wish there was just one person, a mentor, a pastor, a rabbi, someone, who is able to articulate that there is something else in life that is worth the fuss. No such person shows up, leaving us with the impression that the film makers may well believe that no such persons, or perhaps not enough, exist.
Most recent customer reviews
MUST SEE MOVIE.....NOT ONLY FOR JAZZ LOVERS.IT'S A SHAME THAT THIS MOVIE DID NOT WIN BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR !!!!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Like a made for tv movie. Ok film but suddenly ends.....
characters partially developed but none of them were complete or sympathetic. Read more
Amazing movie, buy it on sale and you won't regret it. The ending alone is worth watching over and over.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wow, what a movie! We have a Bose sound system and it was incredible! Love Blu-ray!Published 4 months ago by Jacqui
Outstanding! Intense! Does not let go until the very end.Published 4 months ago by Blaine Nestegard
J.K. Simmons....what a performance! Hugely entertaining movie.Published 5 months ago by Faduma Abdi