There’s a theory that states that if you practice something for 10,000 hours, you can become an expert at it.
When people discuss sporting greats, in almost every case they are talking about someone who is absolutely dedicated to their craft and have devoted their entire lives to becoming the best.
And while that is commendable, it does tend to be the case that these people are so focused and single minded in their approach to being the best that they are…well…they are arseholes.
It’s like speaking to someone you know who is “Career Focused”. All they are is their job. As someone who is laid back about such things, I tend to feel depressed for these people.
Anyway, the point is that this side of the personalities of these people isn’t brought to the silver screen often enough.
But it is with Whiplash.
Whiplast Review: What’s It About?
A first year student at New York’s finest music college aspires to be the best drummer in the world. He earns a spot in the college’s top Jazz band, led by a teacher who uses fear, intimidation and bullying in an attempt to get the best out of his young wards. Tension ensues.
Whiplash Review: Who’s In It?
The two main characters are played by Miles Teller – as the young drummer, Andrew – and J. Jonah Jameson himself, J.K. Simmons as the terrifying band leader, Terence Fletcher
Whiplash Review: How Highly Is It Rated?
With a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 88% on Metacritic and 8.7 on imdb, this is a highly rated movie.
But of course that is no guarantee I’ll like it…
…although as it turns out I did.
Constructed around the tension between the two main characters – which is a testament not just to their acting, but to the spot on direction from Damien Chazelle – Whiplash is an absorbing movie that lasts just the right amount of time without overstaying its welcome.
What interested me about it most were the characters. This is not a movie where Teller plays the young hero who ultimately proves the dastardly Simmons wrong for a corny, happy ending, but rather a portrait of the sort of people you’d expect to find in the upper echelons of the jazz world.
Essentially, both of them are pricks. Andrew unwittingly falls out with almost everyone around him because of his focused, bullish need to be the very best, while Fletcher is an utter bastard whose actions are 100% wrong but motivated by an honest desire to get his students to reach their potential.
It’s incredibly well acted and makes for fascinating viewing.
And without spoiling it, this results in a tense build up to a finale which closes the film at a thrilling high point.
Like I said above, the direction was excellent. That the main character is a drummer allowed Chazelle to use the strength of the instrument to increase the tension in key scenes, and the use of camera angles in these scenes as Andrew literally shed blood, sweat and tears was captivating.
So I thought it was great. Indeed, as an overall package, Whiplash is already a strong contender for the best movie of 2015.
I don’t think it’ll be on the cinema much longer, so if you haven’t seen it, go now.