miles teller

Whiplash – Review

whiplash

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash follows the story of a young and talented drummer studying at Schaffer academy in New York. The film expertly observes the pressures and stresses of working under such a manipulative director.

Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is a 19 year-old student, gifted with the sticks in his hand. The film opens with him practising his drumming and is a clear indication of how ambitious and determined he is. After impressing Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons), the director of the leading ensemble in the school, Neyman is promoted into the band. Here is where he discovers the strict conditions of working under the perfectionist Fletcher. Insults regarding his mother who ran away when he was young and having chairs thrown at him isn’t what Neyman expected.

However, he remains strong and as determined as ever to prove that he can be a great, continuing to practice at every opportunity, literally playing until his hands are blistering and bleeding.

Whiplash ultimately becomes a clash of two musical geniuses striving for perfection, illustrating the pressures and tensions to the extent where the audience are expecting either one to crack at any stage. Chazelle keeps the film strongly in the shadow of Neyman, tracking every single strain and emotion with the camera spending a lot of the time behind the shoulder of Neyman. Tempo is a major theme throughout the film in relation to the jazz numbers on the soundtrack which all make for an enthralling watch.

Teller and Simmons both deliver perfect performances. Teller, who is certainly coming of age, manages to truly reflect the development of Neyman, not only as a drummer, but also as a person. Teller spends the majority of the film in all kinds of pain; either sweating, bleeding or crying and he delivers every possible emotion his character endures.

Simmons standing in the opposite corner also perfects the role of the cynical, terrifying director, constantly pushing his band for perfection in the most intimidating approach possible. His quips and insults leave the audience wondering whether to laugh or sit in a state shock.

Whiplash is a dark and pulsating watch, which deservedly left Sundance with two awards under its arm. With the Oscar nominations just around the corner, it would be no surprise to see a number of honours coming the way of Chazelle’s creation.

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DVD Review – That Awkward Moment

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That Awkward Moment is one of those typically unbelievable rom-coms involving pretty people, unrealistic lifestyles and incredibly vile and crass sexual morals. Nevertheless, its witty script from debut director/writer Tom Gormican makes it a watchable feel-good comedy.

Zac Efron heads a trio of friends who all decide to refrain from dating when one of them faces a divorce. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when all three suddenly find themselves on the brink of a relationship and facing the inevitable question “so…where is this going?”

Efron plays Jason with Michael B Jordan and Miles Teller playing pals Mikey and Daniel. Imogen Poots plays Ellie – Jason’s love interest and completes a charming cast full of talent and potential.

This type of film therefore may act as a black mark on their careers because That Awkward Moment’s attitude towards relationships is incredibly shallow. Efron suggested that the movie was a rare case of the male perspective of sex and relationships yet unfortunately, it doesn’t do the male species any favours given the attitudes presented.

The film lacks any emotional value when things turn bleak for the lads and concentrates more of making crude sexual jokes and making girls fall in love with guys who accuse them of being a hooker. A male version of Sex and the City would be a fair and accurate valuation of this film and that is by no means a compliment.

Luckily, what That Awkward Moment does possess is a well-written script full of quick wit ready for a cast capable of delivering them perfectly on camera. Gormican can certainly take pride in that fact and the banter between the three friends can easily be related to by much of the audience.

That Awkward Moment is absolutely nothing special. It’s a poor reflection of real life scenarios, but it is an easy watch and provides plenty of lightweight laughs, never taking itself too seriously.

6/10

Out on DVD 2nd June