Whiplash (2014)

Title: Whiplash
Director: Damien Chazelle
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist
Runtime: 106 min

Whiplash revolves around an ambitious music student named Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and a terrifying music instructor, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Fletcher pushes his students to the edge of their abilities and Neiman is no exception in this abuse.
This film is the embodiment of what I look for in a great film: top notch performances, simple and yet strong story and dialogue, great music, editing, and directing. I was actually rooting for this to win the Best Motion Picture in last year’s Academy Awards (but we all know what happened there). Needless to say, I definitely loved this film. The last 20 minutes of this film is enough to make me re-watch and recommend it to everyone I know (which of course, I did).
The plot is very simple, yes. It’s just about a boy trying to prove that he can perform and that he can perform well. That’s it.  The story may be simple but the combination of good editing, scoring, directing, and cinematography made this film one of the best films in 2014. It has also one of the most memorable lines ever delivered in the screen. For instance “Were you rushing or were you dragging?” and “There are no two words in the english language more harmful than ‘good job.'” Of course, a good dialogue will not be able to impact its audience without the actors delivering them. And this is where J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller shined.
Now, whenever people blurt out “Whiplash” the first thing that will come to mind is of course, J.K. Simmons. I mean, he won an Academy Award for this, obviously. But Miles Teller shouldn’t be put in the sides. He was amazing in this film because we all feel sorry for him. I don’t know about everyone though but I felt really bad that he had to go through the abuse brought by his instructor. Honestly, he was just a kid trying to be the best. And I saw this in Teller’s performance. He was great in this role. The perseverance, tragedy, and the eye for success were all present in this character, thanks to Teller.

But of course, a hero is not a total hero without an antihero pushing him to the limits.
After seeing this film, I knew who I was rooting for to win that Academy Award. Honestly, J.K. Simmons crushed this role. One minute he’s telling you that you’re supposed to be in this room and the next minute, he’s throwing things at you. He was incredible in this scene and I think that might even be an understatement. The way he delivered his lines was so gripping and you wouldn’t even know that it’s coming. Again, one minute he is calm as a summer sea and the next thing you know, he is roaring at your face while you’re tearing up. It was an astounding performance from J.K. Simmons and definitely one of the best performances in 2014. I’ve had terrifying professors but Fletcher definitely hit me to the core.
The tension between the two main characters are just so strong and compelling and it is definitely thanks to Simmons and Teller. These two actors did an amazing job and I cannot stress this enough.
Some films, have good technical aspects but mediocre performance and vice versa, but this film had both. It was beautifully edited, directed, and scored. My god, that last scene? Just thinking about it is giving me chills. The last few minutes had me at the edge of my seat and my heart was beating so fast it was making it hard to breathe. That’s how I felt when I saw the last scene. Even 5 minutes after the film ended, I was appalled. Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, the directing, lighting, and music FLOORED me. Teller during that long drumming sequence was incredible. Simmons’ reaction in that situation? Incredible. That was such a good ending to end a very good film.
Definitely a 5/5 for me.

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