Damien Chazelle's 'Whiplash' Gives Perspective to the Meaning of Pursuit and Failure, J. K. Simmons Delivers

By Ian Holubiak on Oct 09, 2014 08:13 PM EDT

In his small world conducted by a ruthless proctor, Andrew Neyman thinks the key to his salvation is perfection--or at least being able to keep a groove. In Damien Chazelle's Whiplash, the audience watches the toils of Neyman's aspirations as he strives at becoming "great."

For Neyman, who is played by Miles Teller, there's no such thing as an easy road to achieving greatness and his vicious proctor, Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons), makes it known. The harsh back and forth between student and teacher is something most can understand, but to this degree hinders on the edge of abuse.

But that's what Chazelle wanted to create with this film, a never-ending pursuit to be a hallmark in jazz drumming can be distributed among anyone, it's a universal feeling when trying to locate, and get, what makes you happy.

Even from the opening scene, which Chazelle describes a "thesis" to the film, there's an unnerving presence in Fletcher. When he comes into focus, it's a palpable feeling of not quite feeling relaxed, rather uncomfortable.

While The Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek had some reservations about the more "meaningful" scenes in the flick, it has generally yielded warm reception. J. K. Simmons could potentially get an accolade or two for his role, though that's not to slight Teller either.

Check out the opening scene as narrated by Chazelle over at The New York Times.

Until then, here's the trailer.

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TagsJ.K. Simmons, Miles Teller, Whiplash, Stephanie Zacharek, Damien Chazelle, The Village Voice

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