By Joan Alperin Schwartz
'Whiplash' and written by directed by Damien Chazelle is definitely my favorite film of 2014. It will definitely go on my list for my top 25 films. I absolutely loved every second of it.
First the performances: J. K. Simmons, a character actor you'd recognize, if you saw him, plays Terence Fletcher, a sadistic, abusive teacher, at the number one music school in New York City, the Shaffer Conservatory of Music. He takes every opportunity to terrorize and bully his students, especially one in particular, drummer, 19 year old Andrew Neyman(the excellent Miles Teller)
Andrew idolizes Buddy Rich but wants to follow in the footsteps of Charlie Parker, who did nothing for a year but practice the sax. He also wants desperately to please Fletcher and become a member of the teacher's respected jazz ensemble. For this reason, he keeps taking Fletcher's insults, as well as going along with of the dude's over the top insane demands, such as playing until your hands bleed and beyond that. But even that's not enough to satisfy Fletcher.
'Whiplash' is a powerful, beautifully crafted film about what it takes to be a 'great artist'...Actually, it's about what it takes to be a great 'anything'.The closing scene alone, which happened to blow my mind, and which I won't give away, is worth the price of admission.
I gave 'Whiplash' which opens in theatres Friday October 10th, my highest bagel rating...5 out of 5. Love to know what you think. Check out our Two Jews On Film video for more of my insights.