While I help and care for Amy it has given us a chance to watch a lot of films, some we missed out on at the cinema. Whiplash was one of those films and I am very pleased that we made time to see it.
I have said quite a few times that a simple story can often be the best type. This is basically a story of a college student who wants to play the drums and a conductor who will only accept the best. Being the best means practice, practice and more practice as well as discipline and complete focus. Andrew has all of these in abundance which can make him arrogant and egotistical. He is not a character that you will love, but one you end up having great respect for. There is also the rags to riches element of a young man who’s mother walked out and left him, he has no encouragement to play music but it is his passion.
Fletcher is the conductor of the band and he has to win. To win, he has to push everyone to their limit and beyond. He doesn’t care if you cry tears or shed blood to do so. He will call you the most nasty names under the sun, he will slap you, he will work on your every vulnerability and laugh in your face. He wants to push you to quit or become the best. He is not always fair and will use others to push you. Competition brings out the best in musicians apparently? He can be soft and kind and will grieve and will praise. You sit there knowing the answers to his questions, but fear will confuse you and the want to please him will make you give the answer you think he wants rather than the correct one.
The drum scenes are at times excruciating. You feel every beat as if they are breaking every bone in your body. The blood on Andrews hands makes you wince in pain. You feel drained of energy as if you are the one who cannot stop. Andrew has to keep going even though exhaustion and pain push him to stop. This film is a real work out particularly the drumming solos. How far can a human be pushed until they explode? How much can a human want something? Would they risk their life?
There are only really two people in this film. The others are way into the background and are there as just fillers really. They are there because they are unimportant in comparison to drumming and they are treated that way. At times you feel completely claustrophobic as you are trapped in a tunnel with only Andrew and Fletch.
The performances are brilliant. You see Miles Teller create the character of a boy who at the start is just thankful to be in the band to a man who believes it is his right, you see his arrogance fly through the roof. I don’t know who did the drumming, but the energy to do that must be incredible. Miles Tellers character is the main character, JK Simmons steals the show and rightly won the Oscar. He had to show anger on an immense scale, he had to greet dialogue with the most disgusting of language, he has to come down to a base level, show sadness and tears. This was a man on a rollercoaster of emotion with no emotions locked away.
By the end of the film you are not sure whether you admire Fletch, hate him, feel sorry for him, want him to lose or win. Is Fletch a bully or is he an exceptional motivator? Is trying to destroy Andrew or build him up? Does he have a plan? I don’t know? But it doesn’t really matter.
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