London Film Festival 2014: Whiplash


Ferocious, electric and unrelenting, Simmons and Teller never miss a beat in Damien Chazelle’s phenomenal second feature.


by Dave O’Flanagan

Boasting not one, but two momentous performances from Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is a nervous energy and fear fuelled whirlwind of freneticism. Simmons’ monstrous performance recalls a slightly more human version of Gny. Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Outside of the rapid-fire acerbic and vitriolic insults, Simmons’ tour de force performance has more depth than the crash, bang and wallop of a sociopathic mentor. Owing to Chazelle’s consummately composed script, the clever and off-kilter emotional beats of Terence Fletcher organically muddy the waters of your perceptions. By the same token, Teller’s hugely physical and intricate performance as Andrew evolves from naive youthful exuberance to abject fear, while inheriting a sense of Fletcher’s hubris along the way. This symbiotic relationship ebbs and flows and as Andrew creeps closer to realising his dreams, the tension with Fletcher explodes. Bowing out with a hugely satisfying conclusion, Chazelle’s film is phenomenal.

Whiplash is showing on Oct 15th, 16th & 18th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival

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