February 7, 2015

WHIPLASH [2014] movie review – recommended

One of the tightest, leanest movies I have ever seen, WHIPLASH [2014], of the movies actually nominated for Best Picture, would get my vote.  I noticed the editing right away, especially in the music scenes, but thinking about it now, the editing throughout the movie was extremely tight.  The camera does not ever linger longer than need be, nor does a scene play one millisecond longer than need be.  It is on to the next, on to the next, just like the fierce music teacher Fletcher, WHIPLASH does not have time for an even slight slacking.  I was not surprised to see that WHIPLASH was also nominated for Best Editing.  The only surprise was that Miles Teller was not nominated for Best Actor, his performance was intense and raw.

Andrew (Teller) is a freshman at the best musical school in the country.  He is a drummer.  To call Fletcher a drill sergeant of a music instructor is still an understatement.  His intimidation level is equally off the charts.  He absolutely commands every one in the studio band and is entirely merciless with his criticism, yet no one would dare protest for fear of being kicked out.  The students endure extreme verbal abuse because absolute perfection is the only acceptable level, and Fletcher is the only one to determine when someone plays to his perfection satisfaction.

These scenes by their nature are easy to get exhilaration and emotion from.  Anyone barking vulgarity right in someone’s face will produce an emotional reaction.  This can lead to a hollowness and overkill, but WHIPLASH never becomes either of those.  Every verbal tirade is felt, they do not become numb because the lead to feeling more for Andrew and wanting him to succeed.

The first two acts fly by, and then what really makes the movie even greater, is the left turn that comes in the third act.  Keeping with how tightly edited the entire movie is, and how all sentimentality is avoided, the ending is, well, note perfect.  WHIPLASH is a recommended movie and one of the best of 2014.

Filed under Movie Reviews, Recommended