Saturday, 24 January 2015

Whiplash (2014) - ★★★★★

Whiplash has been nominated for 5 "Academy Awards" this year, including for "Best Picture." It is nominated alongside 7 other films, each very memorable in their own right. For a film with quite a small-scale story, Whiplash has rightfully emerged as one of the biggest films of 2015. 

It doesn't have the panoramic cinematography of "American Sniper," but it has an intensity that matches it. It doesn't contain the moving true story that "The Imitation Game" or "The Theory of Everything" does, yet it's every bit as interesting to watch. I think the ace up Whiplash's sleeve is the ICONIC performance of J.K. Simmons. While the other "Best Picture" nominees each contain their own wonderful performances by an array of great actors, J.K. Simmons managed to create something unforgettable with his role. This is a truly intense movie that is both entertaining and cringe-inducing. It won't win "Best Picture", but I would be cheering the loudest if it did. 
You can just feel the electricity in the room crackle between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. 

Whiplash follows Andrew (Miles Teller), a young drummer who is enrolled at the best music conservatory in America. He is mentored by Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a great musician and teacher whose teaching methods are so cruel they're borderline torturous. 

The reception this film received from critics has been insanely good. It scored an 88/100 on Metacritic, and 8.7/10 on IMDB (averaged score from 52,115 users). That doesn't surprise me. There's never a dull moment. Something worth mentioning is that this film isn't too complicated for the average movie-goer, and it isn't juvenile in the slightest for those looking for thought-provoking drama and entertainment. 

While I personally find this film flawless, I don't believe it's a "grand" enough film to beat out the big Hollywood productions this year. I'll explain why I believe it is a worthy film to win. 

Miles Teller gives arguably the most underrated performance of 2015 in Whiplash. The drive and ambition within his character, his fear of failure, the battle between feeling contempt and admiration for his mentor... all of these complex emotions were portrayed flawlessly by Teller. I consider him to be one of the best young actors around. I can think of one "Best Actor" nominee this year that isn't as worthy of a nomination.

J.K. Simmons for me has given the best performance of 2015 that I've seen so far. There are great performances that make me find hundreds of words to describe them. Then, every now and then, I will find a performance that is so good that I am just speechless to even justify why. Simmons has to be seen to be believed. What he did with his manic character Fletcher will be seared into my memory for as long as I can remember movies. 

The electric atmosphere remains constant throughout the film, making it feel almost as if the whole film is a climax. Practically everything was a high-point to me. The world within that music conservatory made me gain so much respect for young musicians trying to become something big.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I'll answer the big questions. Yes, Whiplash is a worthy film to win "Best Picture," but it just won't win against the more popular films. J.K. Simmons should also win Best Supporting Actor, if the show isn't rigged. He is hands down the greatest of the nominees. However, I don't think Whiplash stands a chance at winning Oscars for "Adapted Screenplay," "Editing," and "Sound Mixing." 

Whiplash is a great film that any lover of cinema should enjoy.