Ter­rific mu­sic drama never misses a beat

Di­rec­tor and cast har­monise per­fectly

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

Man­hat­tan mu­sic con­ser­va­tory and avoid the re­grets which haunt his writer fa­ther (Paul Reiser).

So he prac­tises night and day and catches the eye of the school’s most revered teacher, Ter­ence Fletcher (Sim­mons). Soon after, An­drew trans­fers to Fletcher’s class and be­comes the al­ter­nate drum­mer in the band be­hind lead player Carl (Nate Lang).

When the op­por­tu­nity arises for An­drew to im­press, he rises to the oc­ca­sion but alien­ates him­self from the rest of the band.

A fledg­ling ro­mance with Ni­cole (Melissa Benoist), who works at An­drew’s lo­cal cin­ema, is sac­ri­ficed in a cold, cruel fash­ion that would have Fletcher smack­ing his lips with glee.

The game of one-up­man­ship be­tween teacher and pupil spi­rals out of con­trol as An­drew strug­gles to meet the lofty ex­pec­ta­tions of his ma­ni­a­cal men­tor and earn the right to play at a con­cert in the rarefied sur­round­ings of Carnegie Hall.

Whiplash de­liv­ers one emo­tional wal­lop after another as An­drew prac­tises un­til his hands bleed and Sim­mons be­lit­tles those her­culean ef­forts by growl­ing, “Is that the fastest you can go? It is no won­der Mommy ran out on you!”

We root for the be­lea­guered 19-yearold with ev­ery dis­play of fren­zied stick-work, urg­ing An­drew to wipe the smug grin off Fletcher’s face.

Our in­vest­ment in the char­ac­ters is im­mense and Chazelle re­wards us with an as­tound­ing de­noue­ment that saps ev­ery ounce of en­ergy from our bod­ies.

We’re deliri­ous, eu­phoric and phys­i­cally spent.

JK Sim­mons as the ma­ni­a­cal metor in Whiplash

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