Thursday, 19 March 2015

'Whiplash' Movie Review

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

To what lengths would you go to be the best at what you do? Would you struggle, day and night, only to fail to match up to the expectations other people have of you? Would you almost risk your life or suffer physical and mental torture for a small chance to show your skills?

Whiplash is the kind of movie that answers these questions, and then some.

I decided to watch this movie a few weeks ago when I heard that J.K. Simmons won an Oscar for his performance. Add to that the fact that the plot revolves around music and school, and I was hooked.

Aspiring drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) thinks he can finally make it big in the music industry now that a respected professor by the name of Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) selects him for the prestigious school band.
What follows next is a series of events that will change Andrew and Fletcher’s lives forever. 

 I've never been a supporter of negative motivation. I've always believed that if you want to help someone achieve everything they're capable of, you have to do it with kindness and support.
Well, Fletcher stands to disagree.

He's a man who thinks that you need to pressurise someone until they crack, because he believes that if someone is truly passionate about their dream, they wouldn't crack at all. In his words, "There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'good job'."
And this makes for a rather horrifying movie-watching experience as Fletcher tries to put Andrew to the test.

However, Whiplash brings out other aspects of Andrew's life, too, like his relationship with his father, his love life, and his need to justify his decision to go to music school. And although you may not (hopefully) relate to his traumatic experiences in the band, it's easy to see moments of your own life reflected in these other minor plot points.

But be warned: this isn't a movie that holds mass appeal. If you're looking for a light-hearted story about love and life, you may not even manage to get through twenty minutes of this movie.
If, on the other hand, you're looking for a critically acclaimed, thought-provoking film that's more anxiety-inducing than entertaining, this one's for you.

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for Whiplash.
With electrifying performances by up-and-coming actor Miles Teller and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, a fantastic soundtrack, and a jaw-dropping thriller of an ending, Whiplash leaves your heart racing and your head reeling as you explore the ugly side of the human psyche.

Here's the trailer.

What did you think about Whiplash? Are you an advocate of negative motivation just like Fletcher, or do you agree with me? And, most importantly, what did you think of the ending? The comment box awaits your response. 


Note: Part of this review was originally published in the second edition of The Onlooker, ASMSOC's official newsletter.

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