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Whiplash (2014)

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A storyline that’s as powerful as it’s soundtrack

Whiplash is a full-length Drama film about a first-year Music student with big ambitions in Jazz drumming. The protagonist, Andrew, played by Miles Teller, is a student at New york’s prestigious Schaffer Conservatory Music School. It is here that Andrew meets Fletcher, played by J.K Simmons, an intimidating but hugely respected jazz conductor and teacher. Fletcher is a punishing mentor which only fuels Andrew’s goal to become “one of the greats”.

The story is full of twists and turns with a strong tension between characters. The performances, particularly from Teller and Simmons are fully commendable with raw humanity being exposed. The relationship between Andrew and Fletcher is very intense and creates an interesting debate between right and wrong. The cinematography of Whiplash has the beauty and honesty that you’d expect from an independent film with the professionalism of an Oscar-season release.

 It could be easy to assume a film solely based on the relationship between a Drummer and mentor would drag for some viewers. However, with or without an interest in Drumming, music production or Jazz conducting; Whiplash’s highly possible, if not probable, story is a gripping one. Alongside the strong acting between characters most viewers will be entertained throughout the modest 107 minutes.

Miles Teller, a proficient drummer, is rumoured to have taken Jazz drumming lessons 4 hours a day, 3 days a week in preparation for the role. This practice comes as no surprise when watching the film as the camera rarely leaves sight of Teller during intense drumming sessions. The soundtrack of the film focuses on energetic jazz band productions. However, the soundtrack often strays from the fun of Jazz to intense powerful drumming, which is nothing but impressive.

If you still need persuading to watch Whiplash; take note that the film is an independent film based on a short that won the Jury’s award at Sundance Film festival. This feature length rendition has now been nominated for the Best Picture at the academy awards. Whilst the academy awards aren’t the end-all and be-all of film success, it’s always highly commendable for an independent film to reach this level.

 

Look out for the Record Store Day (April 2015) release of the soundtrack on 12” Vinyl:

http://www.recordstoreday.co.uk/events/rsd-2015/