Damien Chazelle, 2014
USA | Format: DCP | 106 minutes
Q&A with director Damien Chazelle and actors J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller on September 28
A pedagogical thriller and an emotional S&M two-hander, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is brilliantly acted by Miles Teller as an eager jazz drummer at a prestigious New York music academy and J.K. Simmons as the teacher whose method of terrorizing his students is beyond questionable, even when it gets results. Dubbed “Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard” at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, Chazelle’s jazz musical was developed from his short film of the same name, which premiered at Sundance the previous year. The live jazz core that is fused with Justin Hurwitz’s ambient score, the blood-on-the-drum-kit battle between student and teacher, and the dazzling filmmaking will keep your pulse rate elevated from beginning to end. A kinesthetic depiction of performance anxiety—you don’t need to be a musician to feel it—Whiplash also presents us with a moral issue open to debate. A Sony Pictures Classics release.