A film that hits so close to home in so many different aspects its surreal, whether its strict teachers, connecting with family, relationships or the drive for success. Whiplash follows the story of young and ambitious student drummer Andrew Neiman. His character played by Miles Teller, is following his dream to become one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. His dream takes him to the renowned Shaffer Conservatory, playing in the studio band under passionate and ruthless conductor Terence Fletcher played by J. K. Simmons. Neiman’s strive to become one of the greatest, tests the character in many ways, putting strains on his personal life and emotional state. His biggest test is gaining the approval of Fletcher, whose teaching methods whilst extreme are justified in Fletcher’s view. Fletcher’s pursuit of perfection borders on maniacal.

The film begins on a strong note (pun intended) and only gets better. The relatable aspects of the film make it a more worthwhile watch. It’s difficult to find any flaws. Damien Chazelle, in only his second time directing, delivers us a masterpiece. He accurately portrays the length people will go to in an effort to achieve greatness. Throughout the film I found myself pushing for Neiman to succeed. The highlight of the film for me is J. K. Simmons’ performance. Easily one of the best performances I have seen in a long time. His portrayal of a man seldom satisfied with the effort of his students as they strive for their own individual greatness is brilliant and haunting, truly Oscar worthy. Many may recall a teacher at their school that bordered on demonic, Fletcher makes them look saintly. All in all, Whiplash is a masterpiece of modern film. Whilst the film is amazing so similarly is the film’s score. Obviously chosen to accentuate the drive and passion of the main characters.

-Ethan Gilligan


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