Useless fact about me: I started learning to play the drums not too long ago. I’m decent-ish at it by now, and enjoy the hell out of it. I have a lesson every Friday, during which my instructor, a stupidly talented Venezuelan guy, often has me flailing around on my kit until I’m drenched in sweat. But what I go through on a weekly basis may as well be a kiddies party with ice-cream cake and ponies, compared to the utter hell that J.K. Simmons’ drumming teacher puts Miles Teller’s character through in Whiplash.
Without a single shred of doubt the most highly buzzed film to debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (where it won both the top audience and grand jury awards), Whiplash looks to be probably the most brutal and hard hitting movies about drumming ever made, thanks to what appears to be career best work by the rapidly up and coming Teller, and an absolutely nightmarish turn by the usually jocular Simmons (yes, he’s played super-mean before, but this is the guy whose most remembered recent roles was playing the comic relief for Spider-Man!).
A full trailer for the film finally released recently (though I appear to have overlooked it in all the Comic-Con hype), which you can check out below.
“Whiplash” follows Andrew (Teller), a first-year college student as he begins his quest to become the core drummer of the top jazz orchestra in the country. Under the direction of a prestigious but borderline abusive instructor named Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), Andrew would do anything to become a famous musician. His commitment is put to the ultimate test when the unrelenting and eccentric band professor all but drives him to madness. Fletcher’s extreme teaching methods rattle Andrew’s faith in drumming…and in himself. In the end, the struggle is only worthwhile if Andrew is really the one-in-a-million talent that Fletcher believes him to be.
Whiplash was written and directed by debut filmmaker Damien Chazelle, and also stars Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Jayson Blair, and Kavita Patil. It is scheduled for limited release on October 10, 2014.
Last Updated: August 11, 2014