Reviews - Whiplash (2014)
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Whiplash (2014)

Country: USA

Genres: Drama, Music

Taglines: The road to greatness can take you to the edge

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writers: Damien Chazelle

Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, ...

A young and talented drummer attending a prestigious music academy finds himself under the wing of the most respected professor at the school, one who does not hold back on abuse towards his students. The two form an odd relationship as the student wants to achieve greatness, and the professor pushes him.

100 | 2015-01-15 | Paul Bradshaw

Marches to the beat of its own drum… Lands with a bang… There just aren’t enough musical clichés to describe Whiplash. A masterclass in technique, power and rhythm, it stings and sings like nothing else.
Read More: Total Film

100 | 2015-01-12 | Olly Richards

Sum up the plot and it sounds interminable. Watch the film and it will spit you out elated, exhausted and cheering for an encore.
Read More: Empire

100 | 2014-11-14 | Mike Scott

Whiplash is, at its core, about jazz -- that smoothest, mellowest of American art forms. But don't let that fool you. Writer-director Damien Chazelle's impressive sophomore effort is about as rock 'n' roll as a movie about jazz can possibly be.
Read More: New Orleans Times-Picayune

100 | 2014-11-13 | Steve Persall

Teller plays notes all over the emotional chart, dovetailing into a divine riff on ambition. And he does nearly all of Andrew's drumming, aggressively and impressively so.
Read More: Tampa Bay Times

100 | 2014-10-30 | Calvin Wilson

In a stunning performance, Teller resists the impulse to sugarcoat Andrew’s egocentricity. Simmons is equally impressive, lending Fletcher just enough humanity to render his monstrousness all the more shocking.
Read More: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

100 | 2014-10-23 | Ty Burr

At Sundance, Whiplash quickly picked up the nickname “Full Metal Juilliard” on the basis of scenes in which Andrew, plucked from a late-night practice session to be the orchestra’s drummer, is raked over the coals by his new mentor. Horrifying as they are, these sequences are dazzling exercises in total humiliation.
Read More: Boston Globe

100 | 2014-10-16 | Michael Phillips

Whiplash is true to its title. It throws you around with impunity, yet Chazelle exerts tight, exacting control over his increasingly feverish and often weirdly comic melodrama.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

100 | 2014-10-10 | Brian Tallerico

Whiplash is cinematic adrenalin. In an era when so many films feel more refined by focus groups or marketing managers, it is a deeply personal and vibrantly alive drama.
Read More:

100 | 2014-10-09 | Betsy Sharkey

It is one of those scorching films that burns through emotions, uses up actors, wrings out audiences. And the jazz, well, it has its own moments of brutal, breathtaking fusion.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

100 | 2014-10-09 | Claudia Puig

The exhilarating, inventive and suspenseful story hinges on a pair of commanding performances.
Read More: USA Today

100 | 2014-10-08 | A.A. Dowd

More "Full Metal Jacket" than "Dead Poet’s Society," the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other.
Read More: The A.V. Club

100 | 2014-10-08 | Kyle Smith

A thrilling and propulsive drama.
Read More: New York Post

100 | 2014-10-08 | Chris Nashawaty

If you can appreciate the sight of two totally dialed-in performers simmering until they boil over, that's enough. And P.S., that's pretty much the definition of jazz.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

100 | 2014-10-08 | Roger Moore

The script and Simmons, known for TV’s “The Closer” and as tantrum-tossing editor J. Jonah Jameson in “Spider-Man,” make Fletcher a monster, and then look for ways of explaining him.
Read More: McClatchy-Tribune News Service

100 | 2014-05-21 | John Bleasdale

Although a couple of narrative twists late on threaten to drum us into melodrama, Chazelle never misses a beat and the film builds to a cathartic crescendo.
Read More: CineVue

100 | 2014-01-22 | Robbie Collin

However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.
Read More: The Telegraph

91 | 2014-01-22 | Emma Myers

Revealing both the dangers and payoffs of artistic ambition, Whiplash is sure to establish Chazelle as a directorial force to be reckoned with.
Read More: indieWIRE

90 | 2014-12-20 | Andrew O'Hehir

This is a muscular and accomplished work of kinetic cinema built around two tremendous acting performances, and it’s really about teaching and obsession and the complicated question of how to nurture excellence and where the nebulous boundary lies between mentorship and abuse.
Read More:

90 | 2014-10-23 | Bill Goodykoontz

The last act takes a couple of turns that rely too heavily on coincidence, but overall Whiplash (the title comes from the name of one of the songs the band plays) hits very few sour notes.
Read More: Arizona Republic

90 | 2014-10-13 | Anthony Lane

Thanks to Whiplash, Simmons will lend comfort to those actors who believe that, if they wait long enough, the right role — their role — will come along. Fletcher is such a part.
Read More: The New Yorker

90 | 2014-10-10 | Alonso Duralde

Whiplash redefines the teacher movie (to say nothing of the young-musician movie) with a brutal energy and no easy resolutions. It's a challenging tune that will nonetheless get stuck in your head.
Read More: TheWrap

90 | 2014-10-10 | Dana Stevens

Even if you couldn’t care less about jazz drumming, though, Whiplash is a thrill to watch. Underneath that taut, stylish surface, it’s really a movie about the perils of pedagogy, about the relationship between a passionate (perhaps too passionate) student and a demanding (perhaps too demanding) teacher. Which is to say, a movie about a uniquely powerful and potentially destructive form of love.
Read More: Slate

90 | 2014-10-10 | David Edelstein

As a go-for-it music movie, Whiplash is just about peerless. The fear is contagious, but so is the jazz vibe: When Andrew snatches up his sticks and the band launches into a standard—say, Hank Levy’s “Whiplash”—it’s hard not to smile, judder, and sway.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

90 | 2014-10-09 | A.O. Scott

It may get a few things wrong, but it aims at, and finally achieves, an authenticity at once more exalted and more primal than mere verisimilitude.
Read More: The New York Times

90 | 2014-01-22 | Peter Debruge

Chazelle proves an exceptional builder of scenes, crafting loaded, need-to-succeed moments that grab our attention and hold it tight.
Read More: Variety

88 | 2014-12-20 | Steven Rea

Whiplash is writer/director Damien Chazelle's hyperventilated nightmare about artistic struggle, artistic ambition. It's as much a horror movie as it is a keenly realized indie about jazz, about art, about what it takes to claim greatness.
Read More: Philadelphia Inquirer

88 | 2014-10-30 | Rene Rodriguez

The film’s true subject, though, is innate talent — for music, writing, painting, sculpture, plumbing — and the superhuman lengths we sometimes have to go to in order to wring it out of ourselves.
Read More: Miami Herald

88 | 2014-10-27 | James Berardinelli

It's a noteworthy achievement for director Damien Chazelle to infuse a tale about the development of a musician with all the tension and intensity of a top-notch thriller. Whiplash is riveting.
Read More: ReelViews

88 | 2014-10-23 | Brad Wheeler

Whiplash is an intense, unmelodious, highly amped and probably unrealistic drama set in the fictionalized Schaefer Conservatory in New York.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

88 | 2014-10-16 | Richard Roeper

The music is brilliant, Chazelle’s writing and directing are something to behold, Teller is really good — and Simmons delivers one of the most memorable performances of the year.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

88 | 2014-10-09 | Peter Travers

Beat the drums for a Simmons Oscar, and add a cymbal crash for Whiplash. It's electrifying.
Read More: Rolling Stone

88 | 2014-09-16 | Chris Cabin

The thrill of watching Fletcher and Neyman's fray unfold is intensified by Damien Chazelle's attention to the craft and challenge of musicianship.
Read More: Slant Magazine

85 | 2014-01-20 | Eric D. Snider

[An] unusually unromantic approach to music education is one of many noteworthy things about Whiplash, a funny, exhilarating drama — bordering on psychological thriller.
Read More:

83 | 2014-12-20 | Drew McWeeny

By far, the best part of the film is the last twenty minutes or so, and it's so good that it almost makes up for some of the missteps along the way.
Read More: Hitfix

83 | 2014-01-22 | James Rocchi

The quest to be the best is a familiar film story, but if director-writer Chazelle has achieved anything here, it’s a deeply and richly different take on that journey—not only examining the cost of struggle but the reward of it, showing both what it takes to be great and what happens when you don’t have it.
Read More: The Playlist

80 | 2015-01-05 | Richard Corliss

Directing with a cool, steady hand that renounces shaky-cam the way Fletcher would denounce rock ‘n roll, and getting strong performances from his two leads, Chazelle provides a potent metaphor for artistic ambition as both a religion and an addiction.
Read More: Time

80 | 2014-10-09 | John Anderson

It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them.
Read More: Wall Street Journal

80 | 2014-10-09 | Elizabeth Weitzman

Teller delivers a career-making performance as Andrew Neyman, a 19-year-old jazz drummer who wants to be great. Like Buddy Rich great.
Read More: New York Daily News

80 | 2014-10-08 | Nathan Rabin

The film’s aversion toward clichés and hitting expected beats lends it a rare, welcome edge of danger.
Read More: The Dissolve

80 | 2014-01-22 | Henry Barnes

It's rare to see a film about music that professes its love for the music and its characters equally.
Read More: The Guardian

80 | 2014-01-22 | Todd McCarthy

The antithesis of “let’s-put-on-a-show” fluff, about the wages of all-out sacrifice and commitment.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter

80 | 2014-01-22 | Joshua Rothkopf

Whiplash scrapes the far edge of crazy passion. It never apologizes.
Read More: Time Out New York

75 | 2014-10-30 | Marc Mohan

Because Whiplash is two characters in search of a plot, it ramps up the happenstance and improbability as it stumbles toward a final showdown between teacher and student that would be emotionally satisfying if it had the ring of truth.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

75 | 2014-10-16 | Mick LaSalle

The soundtrack, full of jazz standards, is an enjoyable feature, though in the context of the movie, audiences will mostly feel anxiety hearing them. The amount of work required to sound breezy and effortless is daunting.
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle

75 | 2014-10-08 | Rex Reed

The question is: how much should one talented but sensitive individual be willing to suffer for his art at the hands of one brilliant but terrifying bully? The two stars are fully committed to the concept that the pursuit of perfection doesn’t always triumph, and the film pounds in the temples with the feverish tempo of a jazz riff.
Read More: New York Observer

70 | 2014-10-07 | Stephanie Zacharek

If Whiplash doesn't quite hang together, Chazelle has still managed to pack it with some wonderful ideas.
Read More: Village Voice

67 | 2014-10-29 | Kimberley Jones

The leads’ prolonged, puffed-feathers sparring is entertaining while it lasts, but the sensation of something sizable is only fleeting.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

63 | 2014-10-16 | Ann Hornaday

The dynamic between Fletcher and Andrew makes for highly pitched drama, which strains for credibility during two climactic scenes.
Read More: Washington Post

50 | 2014-10-10 | Peter Rainer

I don’t get the enthusiasm for this movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, which is such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. We’re supposed to think that Terence’s tough love is more “honest” than the usual pussyfooting tutelage, but in any sane society this guy would have been brought up on charges long ago.
Read More: Christian Science Monitor