Whiplash

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Boom Boom Crash Bang. 

Nope. It was not the drumming in the movie that got me. It was the extreme anxiety that the picture caused. From the opening scene, the scene that seemed to be setting the stage for a coup of sorts. A young man, banging away on his drums- he thinks he is alone, which is why he is not nervous. He is just playing. Then HE walks in. The man whose eye you hope to capture. Why? Because he is the toughest and hardest to please. However, the young man fails to meet HIS expectations, and he walks out the door. The sound of the slamming door shook me to my core. Then, the door opens, and you get to see what a perfect asshole this guy is.

Boom Boom Crash Bang. 

There is a ton of drumming, sweating, and bleeding making up this tale. However, I do not really think the movie is about drumming at all. It is about the person who pushes you to be better than you thought possible. J.K. Simmons played the role to perfection. I hated him, and yet I was oddly seduced to seek his approval. There was an odd psychosexual undertone to the relationship, and I am left wondering if this was intentional. I am unable to explain the purpose of this, however I cannot help but wonder if this is a common theme in most relationships of this nature.

There was a moment near the end of the film, when Fletcher (Simmons) acknowledges  Andrew’s betrayal; then proceeds to set him up to look like a fool. Don’t forget the speech about how this concert can make or break your career. I found the revenge to be so smart and calculated; I was shocked, and excited to see the darkness of this character’s soul. He is not a benevolent teacher, he is a tyrant. You are led onto a roller-coaster without a track to watch Andrew fight back. The moment of triumph came when Fletcher took off his jacket and started conducting Andrew’s overly long and confusing solo. One of the best parts was the bassist standing beside him rolling his eyes, almost saying who does this rugrat think he is! It was better than any fight I ever saw in Rocky. The camera is moving and pulsing with the tempo and rhythm of the movie, and my heart was busy trying to keep time.

Boom Boom Crash Bang! 

This movie was BRILLIANT! My muscles coiled and recoiled as I experienced adrenaline rushes unlike any I have felt in a movie in a long while. I was swept up in the passion of the musicians, and more importantly, their desire to gain the approval of the man who would not give it. Blood, sweat, and tears. This movie offered it all. It may have been about a jazz drummer on the surface, but the real success is in the way the movie spoke volumes about how to make a film that grips the audience, and does not let go until the last frame.

This film spoke to the part of me that seeks approval from the most demanding people in my field. It reminded me of why I work so hard to impress them. It is not for advancement, it is for the simple nod of approval when I have pushed myself harder than I believed possible. (Now, no one has ever thrown a chair at me- and if they did, I may attack them in a similar manner that Andrew attacked Fletcher.) I tend to agree, the most dangerous words in the english language are “good job.”

**However, I like to be praised. Don’t hesitate to deluge me with praise. I like it.

 

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