Whiplash: Percussion Pornography

Score: 10/10

Statutory warning: The foreplay is intense. And the climax, oh boy – you’ll have to take a change of pants to the theatres.


Before you get turned off, I’m not talking about erotica. And Whiplash doesn’t have even ONE sex scene. Why then, do I have such a provocative statutory warning?

Because Whiplash, as my title suggests, is nothing short of cinematic percussion pornography – of the very highest quality. And the background score by Justin Hurwitz isn’t even the best thing about the movie – although it is of a surreal and otherworldly quality.

What makes it surreal, though? The editing by Tom Cross, of course. Every drum beat is intertwined with every intense scene as if on cue.

And if it’s a movie about Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons in a role that is worthy of every award in the fucking universe), then you BETTER be on cue and on his tempo, because if you’re not, he’ll gut you like a pig. Literally. I haven’t seen a harder taskmaster in the history of cinema. Even Gordon Ramsay on Hell’s Kitchen would quake in his boots. And the best part is? He’s doing it for the good of the students – so he thinks.

A man who matches Terence Fletcher scene-for-scene is first-year jazz student Andrew Neiman (a breakthrough performance from Miles Teller). Initially he plays off Fletcher’s brutality initially by playing the victim – slobbering all over Fletcher’s drum set. But something within him snaps, and then there’s blood instead of tears all over the drum set. Neiman becomes obsessed with gaining Fletcher’s approval and throws himself entirely into becoming the greatest drummer in history. He has no friends, and breaks off with the only girl he has a decent relationship with – all to become a great drummer. But life isn’t a bed of roses as he finds out later – I’ll leave you to find out how he goes about it.

But THAT climax. The last 10 minutes of the movie will leave you on the edge of your seat in anticipation, and as I said, it’s orgasmic. You will sweat as much as Neiman does, you will quiver and shake as much as Fletcher does, and by the end of it all, you will stand up and applaud. That’s what the folks in the theatre did today – they all stood up and clapped, including me. Whiplash has an ending that’s better than most of the best whodunits in Hollywood history – and that’s no exaggeration.

So, will you drag yourself to watch this movie, or will you rush to a theatre now to watch it?

And 5, 6, 5, 6, 7, 8…


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