So I thought I'd do a post that is outside of the superhero/fantasy/fiction genre of movies (even though those genres are generally more popular). Movies that lie in the genre of drama I find, generally hold no appeal to me. Whiplash is one of those movies. However, it had me hooked right from the beginning. Here's why.
Let's begin with why this movie appealed to me, even before I'd so much as watched the trailer. This movie is about a drummer. This is one of the main reasons why this movie appealed to me, even before I knew what it was actually about, as I am also a drummer. Even though this movie is about a very overlooked musical instrument, I would highly recommend watching the movie if you are interested in music itself, or the drums. It really portrays the struggle that musicians go through, along with the unquenchable thirst for success that pervades through any musician, along with the love for their craft. The drummer portrayed in this movie, named Andrew Neimann (portrayed by Miles Teller), wants to be "One of the greats, like Buddy Rich", and will not stop until he has done so.
The second reason this movie really appealed to me was the Jazz. Jazz is also a very, especially recently, overlooked genre/aspect of music, especially to younger generations (not unlike the drama genre in movies). Jazz is a very heartfelt, enjoyable style of music, based around improvisation. The jazz band depicted in Whiplash is named the Shaffer Music Conservatory jazz band, called so after the music school. The band is led and directed by a man named Terrence Fletcher. Fletcher too, wants to be recognized as "one of the greats". At least, this is what I gathered from the movie. He pushes his musicians to their limits, hitting them, swearing at them, and he even throws a chair at Andrew. He says that:
"There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'Good Job'"
This is Fletcher's philosophy, t is what he bases his abusive, but effective, teaching style on. He is the one that pushes Andrew to become "one of the greats", even making him drum until his hands are bleeding, and continuing. I found that this is an incredible, if (possibly) exaggerated, display of what musicians will do to be the best, and have success.
There is one thing that bothered me about this movie, more than it probably should have. The fact that Miles Teller cannot play the drums. I know, before you go all "nehnehneh he couldn't have become a professional just for the movie" on me, I do realise that. The drum solo's in the movie itself are very impressive, however the sticks not hitting the right drum or cymbals at the same time as the music annoyed me. However, to any non-drummer, this would be hardly noticeable. The fact of the matter is that the drums are a very hard instrument to "fake play" Miles Teller actually had to learn how to "fake drum" for the movie, which is an incredible feat. Teller had previously taught himself Rock drumming when he was 15, but Jazz is what I would consider to be the polar opposite in terms of style, groove, and technicality. The appearance is also incredibly important, noticeably of the way Neimann holds his sticks; this is called Traditional Grip, and is actually the correct way to hold drum sticks, though not as popular now.
In conclusion, this movie was a highly enjoyable watch, I adored the sheer intensity of it. J.K Simmons, is, I feel, famous for playing over the top, angry characters (such as J. Jonah Jameson in the original Spiderman trilogy movies). In this movie however, he also comes across with a "sensitive", calmer side to the character. Miles Teller does an incredibly god job of faking playing the drums, particularly in the band practice scenes. All the supporting cast also contributed to the intensity of the movie, also in the band practices in particular.
Whiplash has been nominated for 5 academy awards: Best Motion picture of the year, Best performance by an actor in a supporting role, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Achievement in Editing, and Best Achievement In Sound Mixing.
If you haven't seen it yet, here is the trailer:
I hope this was worth the read.