The quest for greatness and success can make people go crazy. Conviction, self-belief, perseverance, dedication and incessant efforts are not sufficient for the purpose. An appropriate mentor/teacher is always required. Mentor is someone who can guide you through your struggle, someone who is experienced enough to show you the right path, someone who pushes you to do that extra bit.
“How far a person can be pushed?” The question is of the essence in Whiplash.
Whiplash is an artistic story of 19-year-old kid Andrew, studying Music at Shaffer Conservatory in New York. He aspires of becoming one of the greatest Jazz drummers and his idol is Buddy Rich. Andrew happens to join the band of Terrence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons) his new mentor and the bandmaster. He is brutal, abusive and short-tempered.
Out and out Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash would be the film that is about a music student carving out a drumming career in a jazz band. It can also be perceived as a film about Jazz, astute in its observation about music and the lives of musicians who work religiously to get recognition. But the film would largely be observed about relationship between Andrew and Fletcher his inhuman mentor with his own ambition to create perfectionists using verbal abuse, racist, homophobic comments. Whiplash with its limited time and story still tries to explore all these facets comprehensively.
Human nature is tricky and when it comes to artistes it is trickiest of all. Artistes are renowned for their whimsicality. Andrew is no different. He is ready to let go all human contact. He has no friends. At the family dinner with his cousins he points out this will lead him to success. The scene where he breaks up with his girlfriend is my personal favourite. His explanation for breaking up is his girlfriend would be a distraction for his goals. He points out what he does is more important. Andrew shows no emotions of faltering when he is doing this. For him nothing is as important as his career.
For an ambitious person like Andrew I feel Terence is a perfect mentor. He justifies his method saying that toughness pays off, citing the apocryphal story of teacher Jo Jones throwing a Cymbal at the head of Charlie Parker that motivated him to practice harder and become the great jazz musician he turned out to be. Fletcher argues “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job”.
Last thing you will hear about a movie related to music is that watching it on the edge of the seat with its fast paced narrative and editing. Whiplash is gripping and keeps the audience attentive and sometimes even feels like psychological thriller.
Whiplash throughout the film remains focused on the music along with its essentials about characters. The final showdown is nothing short crescendo for the film. Every characteristic of both the characters is explored in the scene along with its dedication towards music. It provides the necessary finale the film deserved.
– Sumit Chinchane