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Music, drive, and the pursuit of excellence. 

Year: 2014 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Damien Chazelle 
Starring: J. K. Simmons, Miles Teller  
An image from Whiplash

My exposure to Whiplash as a film was that it was the height of a ‘Filmbro Film’ – which is to say, I wasn't very interested in it. Was it as overhyped as Pulp Fiction was, I wondered. Would I be wasting my time, I postulated. Dear reader, if you too have these thoughts, let me convince you into watching Chazelle's best film.

Not only are Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons brilliant in these roles – they sell them to me. Teller's character Andrew bleeds for his desire to become one of the great drummers, with montages of him drumming remaining present throughout the film. And his journey into the elite band reminded me of first coming to Warwick, feeling like I'd made it, but simultaneously being intimidated by the sheer talent around me. J. K. Simmons acts as his hard-assed tutor, pushing for perfection in Andrew that the student aspires to reach.

The use of music in this is, of course, superb. I'd seen both La La Land and Babylon before Whiplash, so I was expecting as such. It's definitely the best film of Chazelle's I've seen - it feels the grittiest, and the most down to earth rather than the whimsy of the others I've mentioned.

But is it overhyped? You'll have to see for yourself (at WSC obviously!). I can certainly recommend it if you want to feel. Because in every moment of Whiplash you'll feel euphoric, excited, edge-of-your-seat tense and empathetic to Andrew's journey.

Sueda Oktay

This is a story about two men; Terrence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons), an ageing conductor at a prestigious conservatory, still aching to find an all-time musical great; and Andrew Nieman (Miles Teller), a young drummer whose own parents' disappointment at missing their dreams relentlessly spurs him on to succeed.

Neiman will do anything to impress Fletcher, keep his spot in Fletcher's highly select swing band and become the best. However it is soon clear that Fletcher is a skilled manipulator and swings from likeable to a vicious tormenter at the drop of a hat; insulting, attacking, and even playing Nieman off against his fellow students in an effort to drive him (and everyone else) closer to greatness.

Not that this film is only accessible to music aficionados. This is film at its quintessence; pared down to its key elements. At its core, Whiplash is about these two men and the tension inherent in their relationship: Fletcher's drive to find the next jazz legend; and Nieman's desire to prove that it's him. This film is all about drive and the sacrifice that those who really aim for greatness will endure, and is absolutely riveting from start-to-finish.

J. K. Simmons is absolutely on form in the role of his career; and Miles Teller, no rookie to films and TV, absolutely shines in his role. An absolute must-see.

Natalie Tyldesley-Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2014/2015 Spring Term (digital)
2023/2024 Summer Term (digital)
2023/2024 Summer Term (digital)