Whiplash ***1/2 out of 4 stars
It’s a hell of a month for movies. In the first week of October, we get David Fincher’s electric adaptation of Gone Girl, starring a never better Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. This week we get David Ayer’s war film Fury, along with major awards contender Birdman, the new film from Alejandro Inarritu, which is suppose to feature a colossal comeback performance from Michael Keaton. And to finish it all off, we get a creepy Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler, right on Halloween.
This past weekend however, we got one of the best films that has come out all year, with Whiplash. Director Damien Chazelle’s hugely entertaining film stands right up there with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. It stars Miles Teller as Andrew, trying to make it big as a jazz drummer, who ends up in a cutthroat music conservatory, led by a lethal J.K. Simmons as Fletcher. Sound boring? Ha! What follows is one of the most thrilling films you’ll see anywhere, as Fletcher unleashes a psycho-stampede on Andrew, leaving his blood on the drum sets. Literally. Miles Teller is fantastic, showing Andrew’s arrogance as he continues playing under Fletcher’s demonic command. And get ready for an Oscar bound J.K. Simmons, who simply kills it as Fletcher, showcasing one of the best on-screen villains in years. The things that Fletcher puts Andrew and the band through will keep you on the edge of your seat, sweating it out with the rest of them.
Using quick cutting shots that go along with the film’s fast jazz score, Damien Chazelle shows what the art of writing and directing truly is, and puts himself right up there with the pros. And monumental seems like a puny word for J.K. Simmons’ performance. He is just brilliant. As Whiplash moves into its tense climax, the together performances of Miles Teller and Simmons will leave you knocked out and cheering. Prepare to be wowed.