WHIPLASH Movie Review
Whiplash stars Miles Teller and J.K Simmons as two of the most unlikable people I’ve ever seen on-screen. Can Mr. Fantastic and J.J Jameson put their differences aside to make this movie work when both your leads are so horrible?
Whiplash is a story about Andrew Neiman (Teller), an introverted music student who is obsessed with getting into a particularly prestigious music class run by controversial Jazz teacher Terrence Fletcher (Simmons). However, when the stars align and Andrew finally makes it into the class he learns quickly that the grass is not greener on the other side, actually it might be redder because of all the blood. The story to Whiplash is a bit thin if you think about it, it’s about a kid who wants to become a legendary musician and the best way possible is through tutelage with a possible monster. Whiplash had one or two elements in it which sadly brought it down, one such element was the girlfriend sub-plot. Nicole’s (Melissa Benoist) inclusion in the story felt oddly clichéd for a movie which is pretty unique. She’s there then she’s gone, giving us no connection to this character we’re supposedly meant to care about. It’s wasted time and a wasted character.
Thankfully she is the only problem character, every other character is seamless and intriguing. Teller may be our lead but Fletcher is the far more compelling character. He’s complicated and mysterious, you want to know what is going on in that head of his. He could go either way in a scene and it makes for some of the most intense acting I’ve seen in a long time. Now Teller tries not to be outdone by Simmons but sadly falls short, he tries to come off as misunderstood but ends up being more childish and moody. Teller isn’t bad, far from it, but when you have Simmons setting every scene on fire Teller can’t help but feel like he’s giving a B+ performance.
Then there is the music, seriously, the music is without a doubt a stand out element of Whiplash. Teller is outstanding as this young and hungry musician, you feel every beat, every bit of rhythm and it’s an intense ride. The crowning achievement of Whiplash is the climax, which in my opinion is hands down the most satisfying end to a movie that I have seen in a long time.
The short of it is this, see Whiplash. If you are a lover of music, great acting and unforgettable characters then go see Whiplash. Peter Parker had it easy compared to Andrew Neiman; J. K Simmons is downright scary.