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Drama . Music

Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.

Actors: Damon Gupton , Chris Mulkey , Nate Lang , Paul Reiser , Kavita Patil , Jayson Blair , Austin Stowell , Melissa Benoist , J.K. Simmons , Miles Teller
Directors: Damien Chazelle
Country: USA
Release: 2014-10-15
More Info:
  • Paul Bradshaw

    Marches to the beat of its own drum… Lands with a bang… There just aren’t enough musical clichés to describe Whiplash. A masterclass in technique, power and rhythm, it stings and sings like nothing else.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Olly Richards

    Sum up the plot and it sounds interminable. Watch the film and it will spit you out elated, exhausted and cheering for an encore.

    Empire Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Whiplash is, at its core, about jazz -- that smoothest, mellowest of American art forms. But don't let that fool you. Writer-director Damien Chazelle's impressive sophomore effort is about as rock 'n' roll as a movie about jazz can possibly be.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Teller plays notes all over the emotional chart, dovetailing into a divine riff on ambition. And he does nearly all of Andrew's drumming, aggressively and impressively so.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    In a stunning performance, Teller resists the impulse to sugarcoat Andrew’s egocentricity. Simmons is equally impressive, lending Fletcher just enough humanity to render his monstrousness all the more shocking.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    At Sundance, Whiplash quickly picked up the nickname “Full Metal Juilliard” on the basis of scenes in which Andrew, plucked from a late-night practice session to be the orchestra’s drummer, is raked over the coals by his new mentor. Horrifying as they are, these sequences are dazzling exercises in total humiliation.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Whiplash is true to its title. It throws you around with impunity, yet Chazelle exerts tight, exacting control over his increasingly feverish and often weirdly comic melodrama.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    Whiplash is cinematic adrenalin. In an era when so many films feel more refined by focus groups or marketing managers, it is a deeply personal and vibrantly alive drama. Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    It is one of those scorching films that burns through emotions, uses up actors, wrings out audiences. And the jazz, well, it has its own moments of brutal, breathtaking fusion.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The exhilarating, inventive and suspenseful story hinges on a pair of commanding performances.

    USA Today Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    More "Full Metal Jacket" than "Dead Poet’s Society," the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    A thrilling and propulsive drama.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    If you can appreciate the sight of two totally dialed-in performers simmering until they boil over, that's enough. And P.S., that's pretty much the definition of jazz.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The script and Simmons, known for TV’s “The Closer” and as tantrum-tossing editor J. Jonah Jameson in “Spider-Man,” make Fletcher a monster, and then look for ways of explaining him.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    Although a couple of narrative twists late on threaten to drum us into melodrama, Chazelle never misses a beat and the film builds to a cathartic crescendo.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Robbie Collin

    However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Emma Myers

    Revealing both the dangers and payoffs of artistic ambition, Whiplash is sure to establish Chazelle as a directorial force to be reckoned with.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    This is a muscular and accomplished work of kinetic cinema built around two tremendous acting performances, and it’s really about teaching and obsession and the complicated question of how to nurture excellence and where the nebulous boundary lies between mentorship and abuse. Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The last act takes a couple of turns that rely too heavily on coincidence, but overall Whiplash (the title comes from the name of one of the songs the band plays) hits very few sour notes.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    Thanks to Whiplash, Simmons will lend comfort to those actors who believe that, if they wait long enough, the right role — their role — will come along. Fletcher is such a part.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Whiplash redefines the teacher movie (to say nothing of the young-musician movie) with a brutal energy and no easy resolutions. It's a challenging tune that will nonetheless get stuck in your head.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Even if you couldn’t care less about jazz drumming, though, Whiplash is a thrill to watch. Underneath that taut, stylish surface, it’s really a movie about the perils of pedagogy, about the relationship between a passionate (perhaps too passionate) student and a demanding (perhaps too demanding) teacher. Which is to say, a movie about a uniquely powerful and potentially destructive form of love.

    Slate Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    As a go-for-it music movie, Whiplash is just about peerless. The fear is contagious, but so is the jazz vibe: When Andrew snatches up his sticks and the band launches into a standard—say, Hank Levy’s “Whiplash”—it’s hard not to smile, judder, and sway.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    It may get a few things wrong, but it aims at, and finally achieves, an authenticity at once more exalted and more primal than mere verisimilitude.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    Chazelle proves an exceptional builder of scenes, crafting loaded, need-to-succeed moments that grab our attention and hold it tight.

    Variety Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Whiplash is writer/director Damien Chazelle's hyperventilated nightmare about artistic struggle, artistic ambition. It's as much a horror movie as it is a keenly realized indie about jazz, about art, about what it takes to claim greatness.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The film’s true subject, though, is innate talent — for music, writing, painting, sculpture, plumbing — and the superhuman lengths we sometimes have to go to in order to wring it out of ourselves.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    It's a noteworthy achievement for director Damien Chazelle to infuse a tale about the development of a musician with all the tension and intensity of a top-notch thriller. Whiplash is riveting.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Brad Wheeler

    Whiplash is an intense, unmelodious, highly amped and probably unrealistic drama set in the fictionalized Schaefer Conservatory in New York.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    The music is brilliant, Chazelle’s writing and directing are something to behold, Teller is really good — and Simmons delivers one of the most memorable performances of the year.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Beat the drums for a Simmons Oscar, and add a cymbal crash for Whiplash. It's electrifying.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    The thrill of watching Fletcher and Neyman's fray unfold is intensified by Damien Chazelle's attention to the craft and challenge of musicianship.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Eric D. Snider

    [An] unusually unromantic approach to music education is one of many noteworthy things about Whiplash, a funny, exhilarating drama — bordering on psychological thriller. Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    By far, the best part of the film is the last twenty minutes or so, and it's so good that it almost makes up for some of the missteps along the way.

    HitFix Full Review
  • James Rocchi

    The quest to be the best is a familiar film story, but if director-writer Chazelle has achieved anything here, it’s a deeply and richly different take on that journey—not only examining the cost of struggle but the reward of it, showing both what it takes to be great and what happens when you don’t have it.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Directing with a cool, steady hand that renounces shaky-cam the way Fletcher would denounce rock ‘n roll, and getting strong performances from his two leads, Chazelle provides a potent metaphor for artistic ambition as both a religion and an addiction.

    Time Full Review
  • John Anderson

    It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Teller delivers a career-making performance as Andrew Neyman, a 19-year-old jazz drummer who wants to be great. Like Buddy Rich great.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    The film’s aversion toward clichés and hitting expected beats lends it a rare, welcome edge of danger.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The antithesis of “let’s-put-on-a-show” fluff, about the wages of all-out sacrifice and commitment.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Whiplash scrapes the far edge of crazy passion. It never apologizes.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Henry Barnes

    It's rare to see a film about music that professes its love for the music and its characters equally.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Because Whiplash is two characters in search of a plot, it ramps up the happenstance and improbability as it stumbles toward a final showdown between teacher and student that would be emotionally satisfying if it had the ring of truth.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    The soundtrack, full of jazz standards, is an enjoyable feature, though in the context of the movie, audiences will mostly feel anxiety hearing them. The amount of work required to sound breezy and effortless is daunting.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    The question is: how much should one talented but sensitive individual be willing to suffer for his art at the hands of one brilliant but terrifying bully? The two stars are fully committed to the concept that the pursuit of perfection doesn’t always triumph, and the film pounds in the temples with the feverish tempo of a jazz riff.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    If Whiplash doesn't quite hang together, Chazelle has still managed to pack it with some wonderful ideas.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    The leads’ prolonged, puffed-feathers sparring is entertaining while it lasts, but the sensation of something sizable is only fleeting.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The dynamic between Fletcher and Andrew makes for highly pitched drama, which strains for credibility during two climactic scenes.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    I don’t get the enthusiasm for this movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, which is such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. We’re supposed to think that Terence’s tough love is more “honest” than the usual pussyfooting tutelage, but in any sane society this guy would have been brought up on charges long ago.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
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