Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s searing oedipal drama, arrives on Sky Movies Premiere this week, offering viewers a 146-minute ordeal of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of brutal music teacher Terence Fletcher, played to perfection by the outstanding JK Simmonds.
When Whiplash arrived in the cinema in 2014, it raised eyebrows and puzzled many: how entertaining could a two-hour movie about a music student and his tutor be?
Entertaining, though it is, this is the wrong word to apply to Whiplash. The story centres on Andrew, an ambitious student, played by Miles Teller, who is willing to put himself through the mill in pursuit of the acceptance and praise of his bullying and sadistic mentor (Simmonds). The abusive relationship that develops between tutor and student is intoxicating and unsettling. Teller spurns the support of his father, while craving the approval of the one whose mission in life appears to be to destroy him as a musician.
The music scenes are as vicious as the dialogue. What it delivers in its two hours is a senses-bludgeoning, emotional assault that scales the highest of highs and the blackest of lows. The characters are played faultlessly and with such conviction that is possible to believe somewhere in the world Fletcher continues to ‘motivate’ his students with his unique trial by ordeal.
In short, this is one of the best films of 2014 and certainly the pick of those on TV this week. Exhausting, brutal and utterly brilliant!
Whiplash is showing on Sky Movies Premier every day from 23 to 30 October.