Director: Damien Chazelle, USA
This film shows the tense relationship between a talented and ambitious jazz drummer and his bullying and abusive teacher and bandleader at a music academy. This is a powerful film with impressive acting by the two male leads. Some good jazz that is really played by the actors too.
Superb performances from Miles Teller and Oscar nominee JK Simmons make this jazz drum drama a dazzling success To explain why would be to give away two brilliantly staged acts of triumph and counter-triumph, but the result is a payoff to match that of the Charlie Parker legend – a performance no one in the room, or the cinema, will easily forget. It’s in these final moments that the film itself starts to behave like jazz, with the earlier, meticulous cutting giving way to frenetic whip pans and hungry close-ups of sticks striking skin and metal. However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.
Whiplash is cinematic adrenalin. In an era when so many films feel more refined by focus groups or marketing managers, it is a deeply personal and vibrantly alive drama. It is captivating, to say the least, particularly in a climax that produces more tension than any action film or thriller this year. The title refers to a song played multiple times throughout Chazelle’s film. It could also refer to that sense of wowed exhaustion you’ll feel when it’s over.