I first saw Whiplash, not too long before the Oscars where it shone as the beacon of Indie Cinema, defeating fellow low-budget film Boyhood at both, the box-office and the most famous award ceremony in the world, if not the most prestigious. What probably helped it, was a story that was easier to relate to, even if the worst a terrible teacher had done to you was ask you to stand out of class, or probably give you a bad grade. The struggle against an oppressive force is something basic human instinct responds to and related to and that is what most of us did with Whiplash. That is, of course, to take nothing away from the brilliant technical and artistic achievements of the film itself.
The one aspect of the film that comes to mind, quite rightfully, as soon as its name is uttered is not the composition referred to in the title and several times throughout the movie. Rather, J.K. Simmons. This one man powerhouse completely stole the show and destroyed and decimated the emotions of the protagonist and the audience alike. Using Damien Chazelle’s brilliant’s script’s perfect lines to burn down all of Andrew Neiman’s (played quite wonderfully by Miles Teller) emotional balance. His voice un-relenting and the sarcastic barbs hitting hard, right where they’re supposed to. Simmons’ egomaniacal, lunatic of a character is what drives this film and provides the burst of adrenaline in what would otherwise have been an almost lackluster movie.
The brilliant sound-track too stands out, it’s definitely not something for the hardcore Jazz Fans for some of whom this entire film might feel stupid. But for the un-initiated like myself, it’s a great soundtrack and definitely one you can revisit multiple times.
Damien Chazelle has surely and securely announced that he’s in this business for real and hopefully his upcoming film (La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) will only help further his reputation as a brilliant writer and director and hopefully he’ll continue to be one of the shining stars of American Independent Cinema.