So ODEON cinemas have started a new venture called Screen Unseen, this involves them showing a film that is not yet released for general viewing for one night only. However the only catch is that the film isn’t revealed to you until you are sitting in your seats about to watch it. Although this isn’t really a catch for me as I loved not knowing. The first film they showed was Nightcrawler, unfortunately I couldn’t make that screening but as soon as I saw tickets were on sale for a second time I was straight on it. ODEON posted clues to the films identity on their social media which was great fun and just enhanced the whole experience. This time the film ended up being Whiplash, which is only released in the UK on the 16th of January 2015! That is almost a month and a half in advance ticket holders got to see this movie showing you just how worth it Screen Unseen really is. Anyway was the film any good?
Whiplash is a story about a boy, Andrew (Miles Teller) who wants to become a legendary drummer, the film follows his struggles through music school and in his life in general. This film continues the increasingly common theme of music in film, it has worked well for other films and yet again the combination of film and music goes down a treat here. Whiplash delivers in almost every aspect that you could want. There is plenty of humour in the film, from Andrew but also from his out of the ordinary conductor, Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). We know from his previous roles that Simmons can deliver comedy, but this is possibly the funniest of his performances that I have seen. However Simmons brings much more than comedy to his character, emotion plays a big part in Fletcher’s character too and Simmons conveys that with ease. Teller too completes a similar feat as the lead here, making his character easily likeable and you become desperate for him to succeed. There aren’t really any other characters to explore in much depth here but that is okay, these two actors put in brilliant performances for well written characters creating more than enough substance to keep the viewer satisfied.
You might wonder how interesting or entertaining a film about drumming can be, let me tell you that even if you don’t have an invested interest in the instrument you will still have a good time with this film. Whilst some may find the film repetitive in parts, especially some drum sequences, I on the other hand was taken in by these scenes and could have watched them for much longer than they lasted. The films character development is really interesting and not as conventional as we are used to, it maybe doesn’t go the way the viewer is expecting or even wants but it certainly made for a good film. My only criticism of the film would be its abrupt ending, whilst obviously done for effect I was invested in the film and would have liked a little more of a conclusion but nonetheless the final sequence is wonderful. If I’m honest I’m dying to have a go on a drum kit now, the film has sold me to this instrument so that shows you how entertaining the film makes its subject matter.
Whiplash is wildly more entertaining than any synopsis will suggest and with two captivating performances from the lead actors it would be a miracle if you weren’t drawn into the world of jazz music. With musical sequences to enjoy but also scenes of passion, emotion and humour Whiplash is a drama that packs punch where it matters.
BIGGEST FLAW – Possibly the abrupt ending, but it does have its advantages too.
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Lead performances
Rating – 9/10