Whiplash: An unstoppable beat | Inquirer Entertainment

Whiplash: An unstoppable beat

/ 12:14 PM October 24, 2014


Screen grab from official Whiplash trailer.

MANILA, Philippines – Whiplash is like an audio-visual representation of every individual’s efforts and struggles to perfect whatever it is that they want to achieve, except that in this Damien Chazelle film, it was vividly depicted how diabolical the road to greatness is.

Through the language of music, Whiplash narrated the story of two characters; Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), an amateur yet intensely driven drummer who aspires to become the world’s greatest; and Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an austere music instructor whose goal in life seemed to be to crash every bit of confidence and self-esteem there is in his students. Though Neyman and Fletcher’s expertise in beats and notes are far apart, both characters found a common ground in one thing—their strong thirst for greatness.


Rocky road


At first though, their encounters felt like some display of extreme power-tripping as they pushed and pulled the audience into a rollercoaster ride with their like-hate relationship as mentor and student. One moment Fletcher was pleased, one moment he’s not. And then Neyman wonders whether his mentor was pleased at all.

Initially this was tolerable. But as the film went on, the sight of bleeding palms soaked in ice-filled water felt heavy on the heart as no part of the body deserves such abuse just to achieve musical perfection. And no individual, no matter how senior he is, has the right to degrade his learners just because of his meticulous taste in music.

But in the end, though the process to reach it was painstakingly long, the film will make one realize that in this world, nothing really comes easy. And that achievement requires dedication, determination, and extra hard work.



Screen grab from official Whiplash trailer.

But if there is one important realization that the viewers must not miss from this film, it is that success is also a choice.

It was Fletcher’s choice to be the atrocious instructor that he is; because he believes this is the right way to mold musicians into becoming the best that they can be, and he will let no one stop him from being who he is. Similarly it was also Neyman’s choice to keep his drums beating despite all his dreadful encounters with his mentor.


In the end, both reaped the hard-earned fruits of the seeds they sowed.


If anything, Whiplash was technical perfection. The portrayal of characters in the film was brilliant, be it the main character, the guy who was in tune but was told he’s not, and even the “mini-me”. The tailoring of shots and sounds was also beyond superb, so much so that even before you can start paying attention to its technical composition, you are already immersed in the story.

That was how fast it can suspend your belief – right before you know it.

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Whiplash won the US Grand Jury Prize in Dramatic category award and the Audience Award in US Dramatic category (presented by Acura) during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

TAGS: “Whiplash”, Damien Chazelle, J.K Simmons, Miles Teller, movie, Music

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