Well, what to say about Whiplash? It’s the story of a young, arrogant, obsessive jazz drummer and his abusive, driven, raging teacher. Miles Teller, quickly becoming one of our finest young actors, and J.K. Simmons, a venerable character actor, are both absolutely brilliant in this film. The scenes of their face-offs are intense and crackle with great chemistry and energy. The movie as a whole really is quite intense; a lot of scenes function like scenes from a thriller, where the tension ratchets tighter and tighter until the explosion. There are great scenes aplenty; a late night marathon drumming session with three drummers being driven to exhaustion, a quiet scene where Simmons expresses grief and sadness, an insane race to get to a concert on time. And that ending sequence is one of the best of the year. It captures, like no other film I’ve ever seen, the simultaneous ecstasy and terror of performing live music. Whiplash is a masterpiece, nothing short. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – crackling chemistry between its two stars, great music and a gripping screenplay all come together to create an absolute masterpiece. 4 stars.