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Pat's Movie Reviews (51)

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Whiplash (2014) 
ATTENTION ALL JAZZERS
3.5/4 stars

Whiplash is a narrative, not a documentary. Yes there are many unrealistic parts about music, especially jazz, in this film. I admit that these musical inaccuracies may be laughable, but I truly believe that absolutely everything inadequate about the jazz pedagogy or what have you can be easily overlooked. Therefore, those attributes DO NOT count as any type of flaw of the movie by any stretch of the imagination. Whiplash is simply a work of fiction.
The character relationships are simple enough to grab anyones attention, as we are introduced to the main character Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) and Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). In a fantastically crafted way, seeing the development of the main characters’ connection turn into a heap of tension was outstanding. Even so, the tension seems to come and go, which is another reason why I love both of these characters. Neyman is a passive and awkward freshman jazz drummer at a prestigious music conservatory, while Terence Fletcher is director of the number one jazz big band, who is devastatingly intense to an unimaginable extent. At first watch, it is incredibly scary how intense Fletcher can be towards Neyman.
As I explained previously, the story is more than just music. It has twists and turns, unforeseeable events throughout, and a GREAT ending that will amazed the heck out of me. The story is quite basic but has enough ornamentation to be constantly attention-grabbing.
The only flaw of this movie was the existence of Andrew Neyman’s girlfriend Nicole. It was totally redundant. The scenes with Nicole do not convey the central focus of the film. There was enough screentime to see how awkward Neyman was by merely looking at the moment he met her. It should have ended there, then the movie would have had no redundancies or problems.
Overall, Whiplash is a fantastic movie. Delivers many strong messages, and has solid characters, plot, acting, script, and much more. I guarantee you that you will be pleasantly surprised, and even being a jazz musician and enthusiast myself, I could easily cover up the unrealistic musical techniques portrayed by focusing on the substance of the movie. Exceedingly well done film!


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