Movie #51 2020: Whiplash (2014)

Ah, Whiplash. I barely knew ye.

Seriously, all I knew about this movie before watching it was the following:

  1. It’s about a guy who plays drums.
  2. It won a bunch of awards.
  3. I saw the trailer in theatres and it looked boring, so I never thought about it again.

In regards to my third point: I was wrong. This is far from boring.

Made on a minuscule $3.3 million budget, this movie is proof that heaps of money isn’t necessary to make a good movie. That’s not to say that there aren’t any movies made with budgets in excess of $300 million that are good, of course (the final three Avengers movies all had budgets exceeding that figure). But there is something special about this movie that proves such a hypothesis.

Without doubt, J.K. Simmons gives one hell of a performance as the mean, neurotic music teacher, and there’s not a single person on this planet who could convince me that he didn’t deserve his Oscar win that year.

What absolutely devastates me is that Whiplash wasn’t even nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award. The opening scene – alone with it’s slow outward zoom – made me drool. This movie is possibly the most unique instance of cinematography as a whole that I’ve seen so far in 2020. That’s out of 51 feature films, you guys. That’s how good it is.

Also worth mentioning is the sound editing and mixing here. Of course, Whiplash scooped the Best Sound Mixing gong, but it is just too good not to mention again. This movie is LOUD. That’s LOUD. In CAPITALS. When I say this, I’m not only referencing the music scenes, but the entire thing. That low hum/crackle in the background which fills voids of silence? Oof. It’s innovative. And it’s perfect.

So, did I have any qualms with this one? Basically, just the ending. Now, the ending was an absolute showstopper, there’s no doubt about it. But my aforementioned qualm is purely this: I wanted moooore. I genuinely could have done with that scene being double in length, just because I selfishly wanted to feast on it for longer. The tension in that sequence alone was one great big whoa.

Whiplash is available to rent for £2.49 on Chili, or £3.49 on Sky Cinema.

TQR Category Ratings:

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Cinematography: 
Soundtrack: 
Costume & Set Design: 
Plot: 
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