Whiplash DVD Review

DVD Review by Clayton Barnett

The Premise
Intense, Sundance-winning student-teacher music drama starring Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) as a young jazz drummer aspiring to make it to the top, but having to go through the brutal tutelage of his ruthless instructor (J.K. Simmons, Juno).
The Review
The title explains exactly what you will feel from this explosive and powerful film - Whiplash will have you sitting up and taking notice from the first frame till the last.
29 year-old writer/director Damien Chazelle is a young talent set to skyrocket. He was forced to make a short film version first to secure funding, but the hard work has paid off with Whiplash winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance. Oscar buzz is already circulating too, and no wonder with a searing script, taut direction and two adrenaline pumping lead performances. I’m already a big fan of Miles Teller after strong performances in Rabbit Hole, The Spectacular Now and even good turns in average movies like Footloose and Are we Officially Dating? But in Whiplash Teller is a revelation – cementing him as one of the hottest actors of the moment. Having played the drums since he was 15, he plays for real in Whiplash that makes all the difference. You get so accustomed to cutting away to close ups of proper musicians in music movies but here all the blood sweat and tears of true talent are laid out. And what an incredible two-piece he delivers with J.K. Simmons (Juno, Spider-Man). Pretty much channelling the drill-sergeant from Full Metal Jacket, you just recoil at Simmons’ fearsome tirades. Both of these actors should be Oscar nomination locks. The music is something else too. I love jazz and the sheer intensity of the performances are breathtaking. The amazing musical talent on stage is backed up behind the camera with Chazelle’s spot on eye for detail. The intricately shot close-ups of instruments crack the performances into life. I had to download the two main tracks, Whiplash and Caravan, as soon as I got home.
The Verdict
An exhilarating ride featuring two ferocious performances, Whiplash grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s not for the faint of heart, Simmons tirades are intense, but it is a piece of bravura filmmaking and one of the films of the year.
The Trailer
The Info
DVD Releases: 25th February 2015
Rating: TBC
Duration: 107 minutes
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist & Paul Reiser
Director: Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench)
The Extras
The film was shot in 19 days.
During the more intense practice scenes, the director wouldn't yell, "cut!" so that Miles Teller would keep drumming until he exhausted himself.
Miles Teller, who has played the drums since he was 15, received blisters on his hands due to the vigorous, unconventional style of jazz drumming. Some of his blood was on the drumsticks and the drum set as a result.
Miles Teller did about 70% of the drumming in the movie, the rest was done by his double, Kyle, who was his drumming instructor during pre-production.
The director and writer of the film, Damien Chazelle, could not get funding for the movie, so he instead turned it into a short film and submitted it into the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The short film ended up winning the Short Film Jury Award, and he got funding soon after.
Although Miles Teller has been drumming since he was 15 years old, he took additional lessons 4 hours a day, 3 days a week to prepare for the movie.
The movies was filmed, edited, and submitted into Sundance in ten weeks.