Whiplash can be a feeling in the neck after a car crash. Whiplash can be an emotion swirling about like a storm or Whiplash can simply be the title of a song.
My “whiplash” occurred as a young college student. Wanting to perfect my craft as an actress, I encountered a Professor who was abusive and a drunk. Unfortunately, my talent was not nurtured, but beaten down to the point where my self-confidence became non-existent.
It was only when another Professor recognized my potential and reversed the damaged done by her predecessor did my confidence, attitude and career begin to thrive.
In the case of Director/Writer Damien Chazelle, Whiplash is his short turned feature film. Loosely based on Chazelle’s biographical incident of dealing with a teacher who was a little over zealous. In Whiplash, Damien is now Andrew (Miles Teller), a promising young drummer enrolled at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an professor who blurs the lines between abuse and un-orhtodox encouragement.
Whiplash disturbingly displays what can happen when a mentor goes too far to get the best out of a student. The lines are blurred in ways that you never see coming and send you on a carnival ride of emotions from beginning to end. It is left to the audience’s imagination as to what happens to Fletcher and Andrew after an emotional reunion concert that goes terribly awry.
Miles Teller as Andrew is spellbindingly believable and his drumming is exemplary!!! J.K. Simmons, mostly known for his roles on OZ, The Closer and being the dude from the State Farm commercials is stupendous as Fletcher. His desire to get the best out of his musicians by any means necessary is blood-curdling and delicious to watch! It is my sincere hope that this young director and its stars get the recognition they so richly deserve.
Released by Sony Pictures Classics, Whiplash was the Grand Jury Prize winner this past January at Sundance and continues to stun and entertain. Catch it at theatre near you NOW!!!!