My heart is thumping. I can feel the blood rush. I’ve just sat back on the sofa – a few minutes earlier I was standing and clapping…..my pulse must be racing…a spring in my step as I walked over to the computer…feeling pure joy and exhilaration.
Why..do you ask? Well, I’ve just seen Whiplash.
One of the most intense movies in recent times, Whiplash deals with the student-teacher relationship in the physical setting of a music conservatory. Miles Teller plays an ambitious jazz drummer, who gets taken in by J.K. Simmons, a borderline eccentric-harsh army sergeant philosophy foul mouthed jazz instructor. Simmons demands more than any average student can handle, and Teller gets the taste of this quite early into their relationship. The movie then plays out like a violent painting in progress, with music as the backdrop, and the ferocity (I couldn’t find a better word and am sure you will agree as well) of Simmons matched by the eagerness of Teller…the canvas acquires rich hues of blood and sweat (literally, and quite a lot of it in the movie) mixed with the passion of Simmons…
Being from a sports (martial arts) background myself, first as a student and then as a teacher, I more than identified with the portrayal of the characters and the dynamics between them. Simmons doesn’t hold back, he dives into the character head on, churning out one of the best performances I’ve seen in years. The intensity and passion he puts into his role is exceptional, pushing both the students, and himself, to the limits, and then beyond. Miles Teller stands up to him, in the role he plays and in performance. You don’t for once think that he is anything else but a young, insanely talented and ambitious drummer, and when the drum sticks create magic in his hands…you feel him and the music melt into each other. The direction is spot on, so is the crisp editing.
So will it get an Oscar? Well, its got five nominations…and I’ve seen the competition. Lets put it this way. 12 Years a Slave won in 2013, but I enjoyed The Wolf of Wall Street much better. Matt McConaughey won best actor…but I felt Leo deserved it. Whoever wins this year, Whiplash and Simmons are my choices for 2014.
The climax is arguably the best I’ve seen in a long long time, for this genre. And when the movie ends, the music doesn’t. And nor do you want it to. One cant help but spring up and applaud, eyes wide open at the spectacle you have just witnessed…blood rushing…pulse racing…pure joy and exhilaration.
Why? Coz Iv’e just seen Whiplash. Again.