You’ve probably heard of this film. An 8.5/10 rating on IMDb, a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s fair to say this film was well-received, critically acclaimed by everyone in the world of film.
And wow, does it deserve every single one of those good reviews. It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen. I always think a good way to judge the effectiveness of a film is by how it affects your emotions. If it really got to you, and affected you in some way, then you know it’s a good film. Whiplash definitely does this and so much more. Your emotions are all over the place, as you really feel close to Andrew, and his plight becomes yours. You feel his pain, his anger, his determination. When the film reaches its climax, you’re on your feet cheering. When the film finished, I was sat staring at the screen as the credits rolled, in awe at what I had just witnessed. When a film has that effect on you, you know it’s good.
Whiplash follows Andrew Neiman, a talented drummer enrolled in the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory. He joins the band of brutal conductor Terence Fletcher. His methods of getting the best from his students are through intense strictness and abusive behaviour, shouting and swearing at his students to push them to be better. When trying to play the piece of music called ‘Whiplash’, Andrew can’t play at the tempo Fletcher wants him to, and he throws a chair at him. The film is all about Andrew’s determined pursuit of trying to impress Fletcher, and the sacrifices and pain he goes through to try and achieve it.
Firstly, the music basis for this film. I have never appreciated drumming as a true art form until I saw this film. The sheer complexity of the level of drumming displayed in this film is mind-blowing. Jazz drumming wasn’t something I had thought about before, and now I have a whole newfound respect for an element of music I didn’t even know existed.
The acting is also second-to-none. Miles Teller, who plays Andrew, and J. K. Simmons, as Fletcher, both give mind-blowingly good performances. They are so realistic in their portrayal of these two characters that it’s hard to believe it’s not real. Two truly brilliant actors at the top of their game.
Let’s not forget one of my favourite elements of film: the cinematography. It’s beautifully shot, made and edited. It’s easy to miss these things as you’re engrossed in the captivating plot, but if you take a step back to appreciate the beauty of the film, you will see what I mean.
An emotionally-thrilling, dark rollercoaster ride of a film, Whiplash will stun and inspire you. Stunning visuals, acting and a hard-hitting plot, complete with one of the best film finales I’ve ever seen – this is not to be missed.