Whiplash (2014)

1 copyWhat is up with the 2014 film trend ‘let’s make you little shits in the cinema as uncomfortable and disgusted as possible’? I adored Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler and Whiplash all in depth but jesus, when did it become a prerequisite for a fantastic film to have people walk out from the film (I had literally never seen that happen at a screening of an American film before) throughout and making you feel like you’d rather crawl out of your skin than stay in yours because you will never be able to wash the filth off?

People are putting down Boyhood so often, but if I had to choose between Boyhood or any of the four other films, I’d choose the first in a heartbeat. It made me feel nice and fuzzy inside and was a fantastic watch. Begin Again was another lovely film — sure, not as much excitement, but super enjoyable, and none of the disgust.

Never in a million years would I put down JK Simmons’s powerful portrayal or the nuanced work of Miles Teller (good for him for getting better roles, by the way!) but where I would ordinarily become crazed about the cool film and the great music, I had to keep my mouth shut as I left the cinema, just not to throw up. For once, I was glad about spoilers — the utterances of ‘Whiplash is Black Swan with a male lead’ had prepared me for some of it.

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I had to think for minutes before starting this paragraph, because honestly — all I remembered from the film was the disgust. There was something else, too, though. The structure was so interesting, I couldn’t keep up with it! Right after the film, I thought that all storylines but the drumming had been rushed and incomplete, but now I am thinking that it was very clever — we got to see Andrew’s perspective, right? So we saw how little everything else meant for him. The dinner scene was as excruciating for the viewer as it was for him. So the structure, even if it made me feel like I was completely lost most of the time, actually worked well in the film’s advantage. It was exhilarating, really, to have no idea what is coming next — only thing is that it took me too long into the film to learn to let go of trying to guess, and just go with what is on screen. I still would’ve liked to have seen more beginning, though, because whatever Andrew went through, I can’t help but to wonder what was before that.

I also have to mention that Whiplash has the best trailer I have seen in ages. It is so well crafted. Feverish, spectacular — all the words work. For the film, too, probably, I just don’t have the stomach for the 2014 horror films posing as blockbusters. Oh, Whiplash was exciting alright. But at what cost?

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Me whenever thinking about Whiplash, honestly.


Personal note: I know I spend more time apologising than writing posts and coming by your blogs, but I greatly underestimated the weight of the IB, my course in school, which has me study 6-7 hours after 9-hour school days. Blogging has been out of the question. (I’m writing this review at 1.30am after having worked on my English essay and it’s Friday — well, Saturday now.) And the time that’s left I’ve spent freaking out about some pretty terrific news — can’t say much about it yet, but it’s made me smile often and randomly throughout the past few days. Things are tiring but pretty damn great.

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22 responses to “Whiplash (2014)

  1. Interesting review, Elina! It’s funny that most people’s accounts of walking away of Whiplash, even mine, was a bit on a high for that memorable final drumming sequence. I don’t think that’s to necessarily say the entire movie made me feel that way; I want to hide under a rock too. It’s also a movie I’d like to see again, but not necessarily for the tension or stress it makes me feel but the performances. Hope everything is going okay in your school life! I’m back in college now too for my last semester, and it’s so busy – I definitely feel your pain about finding time to blog. 🙂

    • I agree completely, the performances make it a film that deserves to be rewatched. The final drumming sequence was insane – I went through every emotion there is during it. Amazing.

      And thank you! School takes up so much time, I’m impressed by how well you’ve managed your blog while in college. Good luck to you too!

  2. I agree with Katy, that drumming scene was wonderful. Though I wasn’t so terrified of J.K. Simmons’ character because I’ve met milder versions of him (and the technique works to a milder extent) and I got to see these few people in his performance. In a way, Whiplash was eerily familiar, but still a great film.

  3. Lovely write-up Elina, such a great but at the same time frightening film. I feel your pain regarding the IB – it’s a big task but you can do it! How far into the program are you? And congrats on the terrific and mysterious news! 😀

  4. Great review! Your point about feeling disgusted – it’s terrible to suggest, but did you feel that less as the film progressed? The more we understood Fletcher and his motivations, it was hard not to get drawn in, not to sympathising with him, but rationalising with him.

  5. Great review, and it only makes me more intrigued about this. I’m jealous you got to see it already! lol.

  6. Good review. Both Teller and Simmons are great here and allow for these characters to be more than just one-dimensional.

  7. Pingback: Memorable In Their Discomfort | Mettel Ray

  8. Great review. I’ve just posted mine up so it was interesting to see someone else’s view of Whiplash. I honestly thought it was breathtaking – great post.

  9. I started to skim your post as I was afraid some of the more awful stuff was going to be unleashed. Prior to reading this, I really wanted to see Whiplash. Now, it’s something bordering obsession (I loved Nightcrawler and Gone Girl). I can’t wait…to feel awful.

    Good to hear that school is kicking someone’s ass. I mean that. Too many students simply don’t try hard enough to feel that way (or, they’re simply sull of shit). You should feel good about feeling so overwhelmed. If that makes sense.

    I miss this place. I gotta hang around here more often.

  10. This movie was overwhelming in the best way possible. I’d heard good things but was still surprised by how much I liked it. One of my favourites of the year.

  11. Glad you liked the movie but I don’t understand why did you feel disgust?

  12. Glad you liked it. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Whiplash but was completely blown away.

  13. This was my favourite film of ’14, but I am a drummer 😛 so this movie was kinda made especially for me

    ‘Whiplash is Black Swan with a male lead’ I hadn’t heard that one, interesting. Nice write up, I’ll have to stop by more often. Though I for one thoroughly enjoyed all the dirtiness of last years top films ;P

    • Glad you liked the film! I thought I might become interested in drumming after seeing Whiplash but honestly, I only got a hell of a lot more sympathy for you guys––had no idea it was so hard out there for a drummer! Also, thank you so much, I hope to see you around then. 🙂

  14. Haha, thats kinda cool that you took that from the film… While a tad exaggerated, the film is pretty close to showing how hard you have to practice to master hard drumbeats. I felt as if I was watching myself on screen to be honest.

    Bookmarked! 🙂

  15. Heyyyy….I finally got around to seeing this and it was so f–king tense I’m not even sure if I pissed my pants or not.

    But I was afraid JK Simmons would notice so I cleaned myself up immediately. And my entire house. And my neighbors.

    Whatever I did, I knew I was rushing. Or dragging. Probably rushing, though. No, definitely dragging. AAAAAaaaah.

    (Sorry, I miss this place)

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