Sabtu, 07 Maret 2015

WHIPLASH - Movie Review

          A promising young drummer, Andrew Neiman, played by Miles Teller, meets an instructor (Terence Fletcher, played by JK Simmons who won an Oscar for his performance in this movie) who stops at nothing to realize his students' potential. The title, Whiplash, refers to one of the songs played in the movie. It also refers to the fierce swinging of drum sticks as if someone uses a whip to punish slaves. That's it. That's the premise of the movie. A drummer and an asshole band conductor meets. Simple. Such a simple idea marked the best 2 hours of my life. Such a simple idea gives me the whole gamut of emotions. It gives me thrill. It gives me tension. It gives me such intense, such personal feelings. It makes me chuckle. It makes me teary. It makes me want to learn drumming. It makes me google about Jazz, Jo Jones, Charlie Parker. But most importantly, it gives me burning inspiration!

          Andrew Neiman, an innocent-looking 19 years old drummer, aspires to be acknowledged by people, including and especially, his mentor, Fletcher. Against all odds, Fletcher saw him playing and recruited him to the Studio Band. From then on, his hellish journey to the top begins.
The cute Neiman, admiring the drum kit

          Terence Fletcher is a perfectionist conductor who makes sure his Studio Band is always in the best shape. He changed his players when he feels like to, when he feels they are not up to his expectation. He yells. He shouts. He humiliates the players physically, verbally, mentally, personally, from all angles. You know he would fill in the whole YouTube video of "The Best Insults in Movie". Sometimes his insults are right on the spot that it makes me laugh!

Fletcher, gutting the fat kid

           The idea of Fletcher is that, if we let people do things half-hearted, if we don't push them beyond what's expected of them, we are at risk losing the (potential) greats. He tells us the story of how Charlie Parker became a jazz legend. Jo Jones threw a cymbal at Parker for his terrible performance. He cried the whole night. The next day he practiced and practiced and practiced. A year later, he gave the best performance the world had ever witnessed.

Fletcher's philosophy

          We would most likely see Fletcher as a swearing asshole. But deep down, we know he has a point. We all kind of hope that we meet our own Fletcher. If we do meet him, we either become the best, or we'll pussy out and "make Daddy look like a success story". It’s our choice, really. At some point we wonder if Fletcher goes beyond the line and discourages the potential greats instead, he simply answers with, "The next Charlie Parker would never be discouraged."

Blood on a cymbal

What does it take to be great, to be one of the greats? What have you risked? Are you ready to sacrifice everything? Friends, girls, families? Have you trained until your muscles burn and your veins pump battery acid? Do you need to meet a heartless mentor who pushes you beyond your limits? WHIPLASH answers all of those questions. If Whiplash doesn't leave you with fiery passion to realize your dream, you either dozed off during the movie, or you just got discouraged. 

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