Finished Whiplash and if that wasn’t an exalted experience I don’t know what is. It was extremely high-energy end scene, with little to no dialogue. The intensity of the music, which I know nothing about, and the work of the two incredible actors together wrought an, cliche I know but-, on-the-edge-of-your-fuckin-seat experience. Ah! So happy. That movie was the epitome of what dramatic tension can be! With all the cridge-inducing moments of humiliation, strained atmospheres, and fast-paced soundtrack, Whiplash managed to create an astounding and utterly captivating story. It bases itself on raw human relations, fleshed out in every available scene. No character is superfluous, and the consequent lack of distraction lets the audience focus more on Andrew’s development-which was done so well! In the beginning, he is shy, unsure, and totally vulnerable to Fletcher’s scathing, ostensibly pedagogical criticisms. He habitually, almost instintively, says “sorry” to everyone in the movie: his dad, Nicole, and of course, Fletcher. Fletcher’s “teaching” method, however, allows no room for niceties, pounding out any excess manners not related to the music directly at hand. Despite its merciless, tyrannical style, or maybe because of it (as Fletcher would believe), Andrew by the end of the film is himself ruthless, aggressive, and fiercely determined. In a way, he has become a younger version of Fletcher, detached in his single-minded devotion to music and implacable in his strive for “greatness”. The former is exemplified by Nicole’s phone call. Andrew’s eyes after she hangs up are distant, and his expression reads both disappointment and relief. Now uninhibited by the perceived “trappings” of romance, he faces the apparently changed Fletcher in the performance of a lifetime. The latter^^, his implacable strive for greatness, is shown most clearly when he turns his back on his father’s embrace, a regressive defense mechanism, and walks back on stage to have his “Charlie Parker moment”. The film showcases the sacrifices one makes for “greatness” and asks whether its all worth it. Is it?
There are so many praise-worthy things to be said about Whiplash, from the characterization of Andrew as a supercilious, obnoxious youth, to Simmon’s legendary (or legendary to be) performance as an extremelyyyy cruel and unforgiving teacher. But I think I’ll just end it by saying that, Whiplash is simply incredible because of its ability to MAKE YOU WANT TO FUCKIN CRY. No, well yes, but I mean, it’s amazing because it focuses and plays on the several intense emotional states everyone feels: anxiety, pressure, stress, frustration, helplessness, determination. I mean these are all feelings that we experience when we’re in an extreme environment or mindset. Many of them are crucial to creative work/work in general, and a lot of them are also present in fight or flight scenarios(I see why Blumhouse was a part of it now). Whiplash embodies these two crucially human states of being and tells it through such a vibrant storyline that anyone, critically thinking or not, would appreciate and love the movie for its candor. I personally wasn’t critically thinking while watching the movie, and now I’m just spewing out vague, pseudo-analytical, basically emotionally based opinions at this screen, at this draft. Trying to connect it to a greater theme (with words), but honestly, I don’t think Whiplash needs words to describe what is conveys. That’s part of why I love it. I love Whiplash.