When I first saw the trailer I was a little shocked to tell you the truth. I was expecting a movie that would be a darker version of Mr. Holland’s Opus. Wrong. This is one heavy music related drama that holds nothing back.
J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller are amazing. They both give solid performances but I just found the story to be a little over the top and when I say over the top I mean unrealistic. Unrealistic in the fact that J.K. Simmons character would have been already locked up for slapping a student or even the first verbal threat for that matter. Not saying that I have never met teachers and in particular music teachers that have had a little unbalanced teaching style. Full disclosure. I was a band geek and I still play drums. Just as a stand up comedian is tougher on Comedies. So being a drummer with a lot experience in school band, marching band, and jazz band. I am not as forgiving when it comes to some of the smaller details that a regular movie buff would probably not have notice. Truth be told if you’re wanting a more accurate depiction of drumming and school watch “Drumline” with Nick Cannon. Yes “Drumline”. Yes that movie may have some cheesy scenes but the overall premise of the story was more believable to me. Back to whiplash. The musical performances are stellar. Miles Tellers holds nothing back when it came to his scenes behind the drums. It’s great to see an actor who knows how to play the instrument and is not faking it with clever angles or upper body shots. The scene where his fingers are bleeding from busting the blisters, which is real according to imdb. Are brutal. Reality hit home for me. I’ve done that a couple times. Oh Memories.
Of course these are just little knit picky problems I had with the movie they are very small and truly unnoticeable to a non drummer. To give this movie the benefit of the doubt I watched it twice. After the second viewing I was able get those little things that bother me out of my head and I was able to really enjoy this movie. Even if you have a limited knowledge of the Jazz drumming world. You will enjoy this movie for the knockout performances, the music and the solid movie making.