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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Jazz flick depicts zealous teacher, diligent drum student

By Rodrigo Valverde/reporter

Making his directorial debut, Damien Chazelle presents the audience with a gem that will keep them thinking for a long time and set the bar high for the rest of his films.

Sadly but truly, it is going to be an almost impossible challenge for Chazelle to make a better film than Whiplash.

Miles Teller (left) and J.K. Simmons (right) star as student and teacher in Damien Chazelle’s debut film Whiplash. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures
Miles Teller (left) and J.K. Simmons (right) star as student and teacher in Damien Chazelle’s debut film Whiplash. Photo courtesy Sony Pictures

The film follows Miles Teller’s character Andrew Neyman, a 19-year-old jazz drummer who is attending one of the best music schools in the U.S. and aspiring for greatness. Andrew meets Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons, who is known as the best teacher in the school. While reluctant at first, he eventually lets Andrew join his class band. Andrew soon sees the verbal and physical abusive nature of Fletcher’s teaching methods, pushing him to be the best that he can be.

The plot of the movie is simple with Andrew trying to display his talent and skills and prove that he can go down in history as one of the greats. But what will keep the audience invested is Andrew’s dedication and everything he has to go through to get to where he is by the end of the film.

Teller shines in his best movie so far with not only his acting but his drumming. Being a relatively skilled drummer before production, Teller trained a tremendous amount to perform all of the complex jazz charts in the film stating that over 90 percent of the drumming performed by his character is actually him.

Teller’s acting performance pales in comparison to Simmons’, though. One of the better character actors of our generation, Simmons stands above the rest with his frightening performance as the overly abusive jazz instructor leaving viewers intimidated and anxious anytime his character is in the room.

Simmons has such a commanding presence on screen that he steals every scene that he’s in, leaving the audience shocked by his actions. A lock for a Best Supporting Actor nomination is almost guaranteed for Simmons.

The writing and acting is strong all around, and the jazz performances in the film are worth the price of admission themselves.

Whiplash is in select theaters and a film sure to be a favorite of the year.

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