This movie was an art movie if I ever saw one. I discovered it one day and was deciding whether or not to watch it. I saw some of the reviews and it looked good, so I decided to check it out.
I admit I had to do two viewings, the first was just plain because my expectations were quite low. But since I wanted to analyze it further, I decided to watch it again this time for a real understanding in what this movie may mean.
So we come across a young prodigy named Andrew Neimann and he is at the best music school of the county? I'm not really sure of it but it's one of the best that I could be sure of. But apparently Terrence Fletcher, is the one who always brings the kids to the concerts to perform and so, the band he usually puts together is always top notch and so usually the other kids need to perform better and always needs to strive to be better.
Terrence Fletcher first meets Neimann when Neimann when he was practicing. And well let's just say Fletcher wasn't too impressed but I guess he saw potential since he did choose him over that ginger hair kid, yeah I forgot his name. Anyway, Neimann has to practice a lot and I must say Fletcher pushes his buttons and wants to ensure Neimann gives it his all always hinting at the greats like Charlie Parker who got a cymbal thrown at him when his performance was a shoddy one. But then again how far can we push a person?
And this is the underlying theme of the movie. As Neimann put it, "isn't there a line? I mean what if you push someone too far and you discourage them from being the best?" And Fletcher of course answers with an answer a strict teacher would always say which is " Well if they want to be the best they have to be able to do everything they can to achieve it". And yes while that merits a lot of applause and truth to the argument, the debate still stands evenly matched. Because, there's always a psychology to it as well, especially when this generation is very prone to depression as they were brought up with absolute pressure and stress towards them to be better in this world and to make something of themselves.
At the end of the day though, this movie brings up more especially the final act where Neimann wants to spite Fletcher because Fletcher humiliated him as Fletcher felt Neimann did the same to him as well especially when he felt Neimann did destroy his career. But then the new question arises as well, we suddenly ask ourselves what is happening and is it really Neimann who wants to do this or is he just doing it out of spite. And even when he is finishing his drum solo we see Fletcher's eyes light up and him helping Neimann out, begging the question again. And we leave at that and never we really don't get the answer to it and just like Inception that's the way it should be.
This movie is not just about the music, although I must admit it did re-open me to asking the question of why jazz is dying and Fletcher commenting that it's because no one strives for the best, just something catchy and simple like the pop music for today. But I also know that jazz was always very artsy and who better to rediscover than Louis Armstrong and the more recent Amy Winehouse who unfortunately left the world too soon. It's the fact that this whole movie is built around two people, and one of them pushing the other by introducing new players as well to challenge him and make him want to work harder and persevere.
So the themes of perseverance, determination as well as hard work persist throughout. And what it pushes, shines through, with very dark elements, and a line that is blurry most of the time, we are still left with the questions given by the movie. And by this, it makes it such a better movie, deserving it's Oscar nominations and awards.