SO, I watched Whiplash tonight…
no, let’s start from the beginning.
These Christmas holidays one of my friends mentioned that he was reallyreally looking forward to Whiplash. By that time I had seen the poster for the movie and I saw the teaser trailer thing and I was a bit reluctant – I didn’t really want to see it. After the conversation with the friend I watched the trailer again and had decided not to watch it.
Some three weeks ago my friend posted that he’d seen the movie and that it was amazing. We talked some more and he kept saying that the movie was GREAT. So, today with the rain and the cold weather and my avoidance of studying for this state’s exam I have, I checked the local movie theater’s web page and I saw there was a performance of Whiplash at a reasonable time.
I set my mind on watching the movie – I put myself in the “music” frame of mind, swore to myself that I won’t get flashbacks of my time in music school; I made myself a promise not to miss playing music and signing too much; bought the ticket and settled into the seat.
The fact that NO ONE in the cinema was eating anything should have been a good sign. From the first scene the movie just hooked you. Grabbed you by both your heart strings and your music-processing part of the brain. It lured you in, lulled you into a false sense of security and then SMACKED YOU ACROSS THE FACE WITH A CALLUSED HAND!
You watch as Andrew focuses more and more on his music. You watch him ignore everything else around him except for the sound of his sticks travelling the drum set and profanities pouring out of Fletcher’s mouth. You see Andrew hit a wall after a wall, you see him rage against the world and most of all against his body and mind.
In the scene when Andrew loses it while practicing and sends his bloodied hand through the drum I caught myself thinking of moments when I too wanted to break everything around me. I believe we’ve all been there – if you care enough about something, or you are passionate about something you will catch yourself yelling at yourself, screaming “fuck you” and “idiot”.
But then, just like Andrew, you “ice” the wound and start over again.
Fletcher, the conductor and the “villain” of the Studio band is simply amazing. J.K.Simmons was one of the reasons why I didn’t really want to see this movie – I still remember him from O.Z. and those are not happy memories.
He’s not much nicer here. He is a dictator, a molester, emotional abuser… but he is also a man of firm beliefs who wants all his students to achieve their full potential and even to surpass it! He abhors mediocrity. As he says:
There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.
He is punished for his mistreatment and the punishment comes by the hand of Andrew. In the end Fletcher decides to pay Andrew back by embarrassing him at a festival, but this backfires in one of the most amazing scenes I’ve seen in a long while.
The scene opens as a rebellious act of a young musician against the “old dictator”, and to say that the dictator is enraged by this is a massive understatement. But as the scene progresses you see Fletcher realize that he didn’t break the boy. That the boy just might be the next Bird!
At one point one of the elements of the drum set gets loose and Fletcher does something he hadn’t done once during the entire movie:
he helps Andrew!
This scene, just wow, the entire 8 minutes or so of it – just raw music and so so much emotion! Amazing.
And now my “fangirl-y” review of the movie – Miles Teller’s scars are interesting (I’ve always had a thing from scars). Throughout the movie he is on the verge of being hawt (remember kids, drummers are hawt!), he is in that gray zone of still being young and all innocent looking. But there’s a moment when Miles crosses the line into “damn 😉 ”
When he looks Fletcher into the eyes and says: