Like a tightly orchestrated piece of jazz, this percussive drama is a battling duet between two exceptional performers. Teller projects a mix of nerves and steely determination as the young musician, and Simmons lends a frightening intensity to his drill sergeant mentor, winning an Oscar for his work. Director Chazelle proves masterful at building tension through bold editing and the potent use of music. Classic jazz standards “Whiplash” and “Caravan” add to the immersive experience. Daringly provocative in its examination of artistic excellence- and the price to be paid for it, “Whiplash” is a great riff that gets in your head and stays there.
Andrew Neiman (Teller) is a gifted, ambitious drummer at a prestigious New York music conservatory. He is recruited into the top jazz ensemble at the school by Terence Fletcher (Simmons), an accomplished but utterly ruthless taskmaster. Fletcher’s teaching methods are brutal: verbal and emotional abuse, and sometimes, even physical assault. Neiman suffers Fletcher’s admonitions and rehearses until his hands bleed. But what will his single-minded pursuit of perfection cost him?