|Student and Teacher: FULL METAL JACKET - as it should be!|
|"GOOD" is never good enough!|
"You are a worthless pansy-ass who's now weeping and slobbering all over my drums like a nine-year-old girl!
Dir. Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Chris Mulkey
Review By Greg Klymkiw
"If you deliberately sabotage my band, I will fuck you like a pig." - Teacher to Student, WhiplashSo barks Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a jazz instructor at a tony private music conservatory in the dirtiest of towns, the glorious NYC. Fletcher is a character who makes Gny. Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket look like your kindly old Grandma Apple Doll.
There's no two ways about it.
Fisher's a major-league prick-to-the-nth-degree, but his aim is true.
|Do you think I'm fuckin' stupid? I know you were "the one"!|
I personally believe in this philosophy and perhaps it's why I partially and so strongly responded to Whiplash, the searing story of Fletcher and his cruel, brilliant and passionate relationship with Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a drumming prodigy who seeks to be greater than great.
|Being the greatest musician of the 20th century is anyone's idea of success.|
|NOT MY TEMPO|
What I love most about Cross's cutting is the fact that neither he nor Chazelle back away from making bold (some might erroneously say "obvious") cuts that draw attention to the virtuosity of the cinematic storytelling. I'd argue, however, it works in tandem with the mise-en-scene and the screenplay to drive a story about the sheer intensity of creation. As well, one cannot deny the tale's rhythms of mano a mano twixt Fletcher and Andrew. The act and art of creation is a war zone and Cross understands the macho tempo of this dynamic. Though Cross's cutting is flashy, it never once descends to the herby-jerky of so much contemporary cutting. Part of this comes from the wise compositions Meir and Chazelle have settled upon as well as a spectacular retro lighting scheme that plunges us into that astonishing world of 70s existential male angst - more than appropriate given the natural of the story.
The climactic sequence Chazelle delivers is a musical equivalent to a great action-suspense set-piece. Here is where the aforementioned collaboration between Cross, Meir and Chazelle explodes in all its richness. It had me breathless and on the edge of my seat upon a first viewing. Subsequent viewings have allowed me to bask in its sheer cinematic razzle-dazzle.
The movie is not at all pleasant, but its very disagreeable tone transcends all pathetic notions of palatability and finally serves up one entertaining and provocative series of cinematic blows to the gut.
The Film Corner Rating: **** 4-Stars
Whiplash is a Special Presentation at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. For further info, visit the TIFF Website HERE. Released via Mongrel Media.