With his first directorial feature Damien Chazelle lit up the screen with a sensational depiction of musicality and determination, both as his subject and his prowess as a filmmaker. Whiplash often feels like Jazz in cinematic form: kinetic, vibrant, and masterful in its expression. The sleekly told story of an enterprising jazz drummer and his struggle to achieve greatness under the tutelage of an abusive yet advancing teacher who seeks to mold this young talent into the likes of a legend, by any means necessary. Chazelle’s film is intense and rigorously directed, bursting with the same vigor and violence demanded of the kid and the professional jazz drumming displayed in the film, which is exactingly performed without so much as a single misplaced note. Thanks to the equally powerful performances from the dogged Miles Teller and the domineering J.K. Simmons, the enrapturing power dynamic of Whiplash is nothing short of exhilarating from beginning to end. From the disquieting introductory scene of Simmons’ singular force to the electrifying climax of the film where the two actors play off one another in magnificent combat of the wills, Chazelle’s feature is not only one of the major highlights of the decade, but one of the most triumphant depictions of music in film, and the destructive direction brought upon by aggressively blind ambition.
0:00 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Tribeca Film Festival, Dental Trauma Festival
21:26 David’s Documentary Discourse: Colin Hay — Waiting for My Real Life (2015)
34:12 The Sparks Brothers
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