Great Movies – Whiplash: The Prices We Willingly Pay For What We Truly Want

Whiplash is a 2014 drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. It stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. The film depicts the progression of the relationship between an ambitious drummer and his aggressive instructor.


Every time I rewatch this wonderful piece of cinema, a line from “The Prestige” comes to mind. Tesla (David Bowie) and Angier (Hugh Jackman) have a discussion wherein the latter asks the former to build him a cloning apparatus. Tesla asks Angier a specific question “Mr. Angier, have you considered the cost of such a machine?” to which Angier responds “Price is not an object.” Tesla, realizing Angier’s one track mind reiterates by saying “Perhaps not, but have you considered the *cost*?”. A cursory look at the aforementioned conversation accurately displays the primary theme this film is going for.

I’m riveted by this film every single time I watch it because I sit in my chair and ask myself, “Am I that guy who would risk it all and never be discouraged while trying to achieve greatness in something I’m passionate about?”. My personal thought process coalesces with the story unfolding on screen and it leaves me with curled up fingers, held up breath and unblinking eyes as the end credits roll. The film is a fantastic cinematic experience.


There is not much I can say, that hasn’t already been said, about the performances, music, lighting, pacing, and direction. The shots are expertly crafted, the music is euphoric and poignant with everything else in between added in for good measure, for a film about “drumming” (which it is not), the film has an electric pace and the look, mood, and tone of the film only add to the overall aura of infallibility the film possesses. The acting is just so very good. So very very very very good. Expect for that “I’m upset” bit, so very very excellently good. God damn man. That is my absolute mixed fruit jam.

My only ding against the film would be the moderately week romance subplot. It seems quite out of place because it fails to match the tone of the film. I do concede that the film needed something to show Andrew’s near-psychotic levels of obsession with his craft demolishing every other human connection else in its path but I’d have liked to see something else depicting it or this subplot explored better. But, ’tis but a scratch on the champ’s face.


I’d love nothing more than to settle in explaining every single facet and scene of this excellent film while writing a blog post which would equate to a thesis paper but I’d like more to not influence any reader’s thoughts. (I’d still suggest watching Lessons From The Screenplay’s video about Whiplash)

This film plays slightly differently every time I watch it owing to the fact that I’m not the same man at every rewatch. I’ve learned something new, I’ve grown as a person, my view of the world has been shifted ever so slightly and this film looks different, sounds different, plays differently but never fails to be excellent. Really really great cinema can do that.

I wish I could throw roses and the screen, clap loudly and say “Bravo” (like a opera watching dandy) on my next viewing.

Whiplash Minimalize Poster.jpg


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