MOVIE REVIEW: Thrilling and compelling

Left to right: Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher'Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics ANL-150120-113442001
Left to right: Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher'Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics ANL-150120-113442001

WHIPLASH (15)

SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: MILES TELLER, JK SIMMONS, MELISSA BENOIST & PAUL REISER

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 46 MINS

DIRECTOR: DAMIEN CHAZELLE

I walked into a screening of Whiplash with low expectations, but walked out thinking it could be a dark horse for the Best Picture Oscar, WRITES MIKEY CLARKE.

Saint's Row ANL-150120-113432001

Saint's Row ANL-150120-113432001

The trailer didn’t do much for me – with the ‘inspirational teacher’ theme coming across as a little cliché – but the relationship the two lead actors forge throughout the film is infectiously compelling.

Whiplash focuses on Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a 19-year-old jazz drummer who is desperate to rise to the top of the country’s most elite music conservatory. He practices day-and-night in hope of becoming the best, and then gets discovered by Terence Fletcher (Spider-Man’s JK Simmons) – a music instructor who rules by fear – who wants Andrew in his orchestra.

Comparable to a ‘Sergeant major’, Fletcher throws chairs across the room, screams insults, and slaps faces – pushing Andrew in particular to the brink of his ability and sanity.

JK Simmons – who has just won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and has been nominated for an Oscar – shines in what is undoubtedly the best performance of his career.

With him and Miles Teller both on top form – alongside an impressive script and perfect direction from Damien Chazelle – Whiplash would have been brilliant if it was just about chess.

This film will appeal to anyone who has been pushed to be the best at something – it’s not just for musicians – and will question how far you’re willing to go for success.

Come the last beat, you’ll probably be as exhausted as Andrew from this thrill-ride of a movie – that straps you in and doesn’t let go.

Rating: 5/5