Whiplash: Review / by Kenneth Buff

Whiplash is easliy the best movie of 2014. A statement that I don't think would change if the date were January 2015, rather than December 2014. This movie is phenomenal. The cinematography, the performances, the story telling, the soundtrack, are all done perfectly. Everything is in synch here, running like a well oiled machine.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Premise, Whiplash is the story of a young man, played by Miles Teller, who is enrolled in school at Shaffer Conservatory, the best music performing college in the United States. He quickly finds himself being the alternative drummer for the Shaffer jazz band, where the director, played by J.K Simmons, is the mentor from hell. His insults and degradation are in a league few antagonists have ever achieved on screen. This is Simmons best performance, and I would be shocked if he were not nominated for an Oscar.

The performances are not the only thing in this film worth drooling over. Director Damien Chazelle is also fantastic, and he knows how to make a small idea feel big. Some of the most exciting shots are of the band members setting up their equipment or emptying their spit catchers. That's not because the other scenes are boring—there aren't any boring scenes in this movie—it's because Chazelle knows how to capture interest with quick cuts, and he knows when to hold a shot and when to do a slow pan.

If you have a theater in your town that's playing Whiplash, you are doing yourself a diservice if you're not seeing it. The movie is funny, it's moving, and it's ultimately inspiring. It's the best movie of 2014. Do not miss it.