Whiplash (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
February 21, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Whiplash” will be remembered for its wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons and the intensity of the drum playing scenes by Miles Teller, but no doubt, jumpstart the career for writer/director Damien Chazelle for creating this spectacular, captivating film. “Whiplash” is highly recommended!
© 2014 Whiplash, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Whiplash
DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 107 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 2:409:1, Anamorphic Widescreen, English, English – Audio Description Track, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Picture Classics
RATED: R (Strong Language Including Some Sexual References)
RELEASE DATE: February 24, 2014
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Written by Damien Chazelle
Produced by Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak
Co-Produced by Nicholas Britell, Garrick Dion, Sarah Potts, Stephanie Wilcox
Executive Producer: Jeanette Brill, Jason Reitman, Couper Samuelson, Gary Michael Walters
Associate Producer: Phillip Dawe
Music by Justin Hurwitz
Cinematography by Sharone Meir
Edited by Tom Cross
Casting by Terri Taylor
Production Design by Melanie Jones
Art Direction by Hunter Brown
Set Decoration by Karuna Karmarkar
Costume Design by Lisa Norcia
Miles Teller as Andrew
J.K. Simmons as Fletcher
Paul Reiser as Jim Neimann
Melissa Benoist as Nicole
Austin Stowell as Ryan
Nate Lang as Carl Tanner
Chris Mulkey as Uncle Frank
Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability—and his sanity.
From director Damien Chazelle (“Grand Piano”, The Last Exorcism Part II”) comes “Whiplash”, a film which he wrote and had a 3 million dollar budget, the film would receive critical acclaim and would receive top audience and grand jury awards in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
“Whiplash” has been nominated for five awards at the 87th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. And now one of the best films of 2014 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
“Whiplash” stars Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”, “Divergent”, “21 & Over”), J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man” films, “The Closer”, “Juno”), Paul Reiser (“Mad About You”, “My Two Dads”, “Aliens”) and Melissa Benoist (“Glee”, “Tennessee”).
Andrew Neiman (portrayed by Miles Teller) is a first-year jazz student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York. He aspires to be one of the greats like Buddy Rich. He has a relationship with Nicole (portrayed by Melissa Benoist) and has a supportive father, Jim (portrayed by Paul Reiser) in his music endeavor.
When conductor Terence Fletcher (portrayed by J.K. Simmons) visits the school, he accepts Andrew into his studio band as an alternate drummer.
But it is evident immediately that Terence is emotionally abusive towards his students, which is way to bring out their best in them but also instill fear that if they mess up or don’t meet his standards, they will be removed from the band.
When Andrew gets a chance to play the drums and rehearse Hank Levy’s piece “Whiplash”, Flecher is upset and hurls a chair at him for not keeping up his tempo and to prove a point, he mocks and insults him and slaps him repeatedly in front of the class, humiliating him.
The emotional abuse that Andrew starts to endure and his drive of wanting to be the best drummer, leads him to make difficult choices in his life. But how far will Andrew go in order to achieve greatness?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Whiplash” is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio (Anamorphic Widescreen) in English, French, Spanish and English – Audio Description track in 5.1 Dolby Digital.
It’s important to note that if you want the best quality of “Whiplash”, you will want to check out the film on Blu-ray as it will offer the best picture and audio quality.
As for the DVD, picture quality is very good as one can expect on DVD and there is a hint of the film grain during your viewing of the film. The film is well-lit and there are so many closeups in this film that, I can imagine the clarity on Blu-ray, but on DVD, there is still good detail. The film is well-lit and looks good on DVD.
As for audio, the soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and music. Once again, if you are an audiophile, you definitely will want to watch this film on Blu-ray but on DVD, soundtrack is crystal clear and well-utilized from the center, fronts and surround channels.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Whiplash” features the following special features:
- Commentary with J.K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle – A fascinating audio commentary with actor J.K. Simmons and director Damien Chazelle.
- An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival – (7:51) A short featurette with actors Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons with director Damien Chazelle.
- Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Whiplash”.
“Whiplash” comes with an Ultraviolet code and watch the film on various devices.
Once in a while you come upon a film that is made with a low budget that knocks your pants off.
Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” is one of those films!
While not an action film, the drumming for the film is heavy hitting, captivating and you are literally glued to the film.
Created by Damien Chazelle who was a drummer and wanted to share a few of his experiences but to create a story about music competitiveness and one’s drive to achieve greatness, “Whiplash” will no doubt be remembered.
A story about a drummer who wants to be the greatest and an abusive music teacher who wants to find a musical genius, both actors, Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons do an amazing job with their performances and making you believe these characters.
While Miles Teller knew how to play the drums, the intense training he learned for the character role was amazing as you see this young man play the drums with such intensity with sweat and including blood flying around everywhere.
J.K. Simmons is arrogant, pompous and your uber-a-hole of a music teacher but he drives people either to depression or to get them to achieve greatness through his emotionally abusive style of teaching. Simmons plays the character with such efficacy.
But it’s the writing of Damien Chazelle and the cinematography by Sharone Meir that are gripping. Chazelle’s writing building up the character of Andrew and how far this young man would go to achieve greatness and Sharone Meir capturing the various emotions, close-up. But also capturing the wonderful drumming as everything culminates into this powerful scene towards the end of the film.
I enjoyed it so much that I have watched the film several times because I found it so captivating and the ending scene is just incredible. I absolutely enjoyed the film and it was no doubt one of the best films of 2014 and is deserving of its wins and nominations.
As for the DVD release of “Whiplash”, while I strongly would cajole anyone to purchasing the Blu-ray release for its better picture quality and its lossless soundtrack, but also that the Blu-ray also contains more special features including the original “Whiplash” short film, for those who just want the DVD, should be pleased with it. The film looks and sounds good on DVD, it’s just not in HD (which is my preference).
Overall, “Whiplash” will be remembered for its wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons and the intensity of the drum playing scenes by Miles Teller, but no doubt, jumpstart the career for writer/director Damien Chazelle for creating this spectacular, captivating film.
“Whiplash” is highly recommended!
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