“Whiplash” is the “Full Metal Jacket” of Jazz

Oscar winner “Whiplash” explores a verbally and physically abusive relationship between a band conductor and student. This film will get your blood boiling …


How far would you go to be the best? Or in “Whiplash’s” case, how far would you go to play the best? Many people, including myself, don’t realize the countless hours musicians put into embodying their expertise to hit that perfect note.

“Whiplash” takes the audience to a whole other level. Actors Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons (winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) go head-to-head in this radically jazzed-up film.

It’s electrifying. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, from his own past experiences, he amps up a film that is sure to get blood on the wall.

Teller plays a young protagonist, Andrew Neiman, a first-year drumming student at the elite Shaffer Conservatory in New York. Inspired by Buddy Rich, Teller and his alter ego go to work on the drums as he beats his toms and bangs his cymbals.

Trying to mask his skill and perfect his talent, Neiman is desperately trying to get into the band studio conducted by Terence Fletcher (Simmons).

Fletcher finally accepts Neiman to join his studio band, first as an alternate and then working his way up to a core drummer. What Neiman doesn’t realize is that he’s in for a whirlwind of jazz hell.

This verbally and physically abusive martinet hurdles chairs at Neiman’s head and slaps him in the face until he’s numb. Neiman is in quote, “a failure.” Simmons transforms into this sinister pig that bullies his jazz students to excellence.

Like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (“Full Metal Jacket“), Simmons’ malice words slide swiftly off his tongue: “Do you think you’re out of tune? What are you … there’s no f***ing Mars Bar down there, what are you looking at? Look up here, look at me. Do you think you were out of tune?”

“You are a worthless, friendless, f**got-lipped little piece of s**t whose mommy left daddy when she figured out he wasn’t Eugene O’Neill, and who is now weeping and slobbering all over my drums like a f***ing 9-year-old girl! So for the final, FATHER-F***ING time, SAY IT LOUDER!”
“Whiplash” becomes a battle of the bands. These provocative and intoxicating performances done by both Teller and Simmons will blow you away.

“Whiplash,” most definitely, hit the right tempo for the Academy this year, receiving three Oscars (Best Supporting Actor, Editing and Sound Mixing).

Teller embodies power and nuance into his character, leaving blood on his hands and sticks. Simmons is a true marvel to watch on screen, deserving every part of his Oscar-winning performance. “Whiplash” is an extraordinary film that hits a level of astonishment.

It receives the highest of highs … five out of five stars. Staying true to its title, “Whiplash” throws its audience into a pulse-pounding number and in the end, leaves blood on its set.

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Ryan Arnold

Ryan Arnold

Ryan Arnold is Arts & Entertainment Editor for MBU Timeline, as well as Web Administrator for the site. He is majoring in broadcast media and minoring in religion at Missouri Baptist University. Arnold runs cross-country and track and field at MBU. Arnold has always had a passion for film and likes to shoot and edit film. Arnold wants to have a career in video production after college. In his spare time, Arnold also runs his own blog, "Arnold At The Movies." Checkout all of my reviews at


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