While the flamboyant (and dare I say it, overrated) Birdman took the Best Picture gong at last month’s Oscars, and despite the likes of Selma, American Sniper and Theory of Everything stealing the headlines for a variety of different reasons, there has only been one film this year that has truly captured my cinematic imagination: Whiplash.
There is no hiding my deep love for Damien Chazelle’s rip-snorting, drum-smashing, musical orgasm-fest. It’s the best film, evs. OK, OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but after leaving me a giddy mess – reminiscent of a school boy after having eaten far too many sugary treats – I know this’ll be a film I will treasure (and totally fanboy) – like The Shining and Toy Story before it – for a very long time.
After initially struggling to get the film financed (it was entered into Sundance 2013 as a 17 minute short and was subsequently picked up following the festival), the 30-year-old newbie director shot the film in less than four weeks on a budget of less than $3.5 million. Frantically paced and wonderfully edited, the toing and froing between J.K. Simmons’ bat-sh*t crazy music teacher, Fletcher, and Miles Teller’s jazz drumming prodigy, Andrew, is an epic war-like battle set around a drum kit. Its ferocity is as mesmerizing as it is completely knackering, yet it’s worth it to witness an utterly captivating musical dual that climaxes with the most memorable of finales.
It is a film I’ll defend to the bitter end and I can make no apologies for that. It’s a drum-based masterpiece that makes me want to scream to the heavens about how freakin’ awesome it is. Three Oscar wins? I’d have given it the lot! Unlike Andrew’s early attempts to appease his crazy teacher, Whiplash is definitely, without doubt, my tempo.
Read our full review of Whiplash here.