Film review: Whiplash (15, 106 mins)Drama/Romance
Snared by the rhythm of drummer’s painfull quest
The fresh paint of 2015 has barely dried and already we have a strong contender for the film of the year.
Inspired by writer-director Damien Chazelle’s experiences in a fiercely competitive high school jazz band, Whiplash is an electrifying tale of a 19-year-old drummer’s bruising battle of wits with his monstrous college tutor.
As the title intimates, pain is acute in Chazelle’s lean script that pulls no punches in its depiction of the pursuit of musical excellence, which propels the self-destructive student to the brink of a mental and physical breakdown.
Drumming sequences are edited at a frenetic pace, spattered with the real sweat of lead actor Miles Teller, who performs all of the energy-sapping solos as if his life depended on it.
It’s a bravura performance complemented by JK Simmons’ jaw-dropping portrayal of the foul-mouthed, bullying conductor, who verbally abuses students that fall short of his impossible demands for metronomic and percussive perfection.
Staring at his terrified charges, Simmons’ musician-turned-mentor preys upon teenage fears and insecurities.
Star rating 9/10