#8: WHIPLASH (17-1-15)
Starring Miles Teller, JK Simmons, Paul Reiser and Melissa Benoist. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle.
107 minutes all too brief.
Miles Teller plays Andrew - a drum prodigy with dreams of being the next drumming legend, like his hero, Buddy Rich. His every waking moment is filled with his passion, his magnificent obsession, and when he's not practicing he's listening to drumming, analysing every aspect of a drum solo and practicing again 'till his hands bleed.
When Andrew learns that maverick music tutor, Terence Fletcher (played by the soon to be Oscar winner, JK Simmons) is looking for a new drummer, Andrew goes out of his way to catch the ear of the notoriously difficult Fletcher, but comes to learn, first hand the old adage, 'be careful what you wish for.' was never truer than it is at the hands of the brutal, bullish and driven teacher. Forced to absolute breaking point, Andrew's begins to remove all distractions in his life, in his pursuit of drumming perfection, and his relationship with his father and girlfriend are the first to suffer.
But Fletcher's ever increasing psychological and physical bullying begins to take its toil on the young drummer leading to an absolutely stunning showdown, of which the less spoken of the better, that really does elevate this film to something very special, nay extraordinary.
JK Simmons utterly dominates the role of Fletcher but the film isn't entirely his, high praise must be given to Whiplash's young star, Miles Teller who brings a tangible reality to the role of Andrew that makes him seem real and all to believable and never cliched. The score, pure jazz is perfect for the film and never becomes intrusive or distracting.
Gripping, intense and never anything other than utterly engrossing, there are times when this film feels almost like a fly-on-the-wall documentary rather than a drama so realistic does it feel.
Simply one of the best films I've seen in ages and definitely one of my top ten films of the year.