Larry Hudema
By Larry Hudema
November 21st, 2014

On Tuesday Dec 2 Spotlight Films will be presenting “Whiplash”, a psychological thriller/intense drama written and directed by novice director Damien Chazelle.

This is a film about tyranny, passion that morphs into obsession, and a secret to be revealed. It focuses on Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller, “The Spectacular Now”, “Divergent”), an aspiring young jazz drummer who enrols in a prestigious music conservatory, his ambition, to become one of the greats. While at the conservatory he comes to the attention of its most respected but notorious and borderline psychotic instructor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, “Juno”,” The Closer”) who has him transferred to his jazz band. What ensues is a compelling and intense interplay between the two as Andrew’s passion spirals out of control and he is driven to the edge of his ability…..and his sanity in his attempt to please the ruthless teacher.

En route to his goal Andrew decides his girlfriend Nicole (Melissa Benoist, “Glee”) is a burden to his career goal and dumps her. There is a great conversation between Andrew and his uncle Frank (Chris Mulkey, “Captain Phillips”) which provides some valuable insight into Andrew’s character.

For any of you who think of J.K. Simmons as the warm, fuzzy dad in Juno, the reassuring dude in the Farmers Insurance Group ads or the voice of the yellow M&M, brace yourselves. His performance is Oscar calibre. 

Teller, 27, who has played drums since he was fifteen, developed blisters on his hands due to the unconventional style of jazz drumming. Some of the blood was on the drumsticks and the drum set….and that is how you dedicate yourself to your art.

This film, shot in 19 days, is based loosely on Chazelle’s own experience as a wannabe jazz drummer. Good thing he decided his forte was film making.

To date “Whiplash” has won 7 awards, including Audience and Grand Jury in the Dramatic category at Sundance and has been nominated for 3 awards including Best Actor for Teller at the Gotham Awards. It also scored a hefty 96% with Rotten Tomatoes and 87% with Internet Movie Database.

“Whiplash” is guaranteed to keep you riveted. If you enjoy a well done flick (despite the jazz pretense) you may well save yourself a good deal of regret by catching this movie….seriously.

Whiplash will be shown at 7:30 pm at the Gem Theatre.

Thanks to Rotten Tomatoes, IMdB, The Georgia Straight, Maureen and Marius Paquet, and patrons and sponsors of Spotlight Films.

Categories: General

Other News Stories