‘Whiplash’ Points of View

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There are many pros and cons about the movie “Whiplash” from different perspectives. In the New Yorker’s “Getting Jazz Right In The Movies” Richard Brody argues that he disliked the movie and it had nothing to do with jazz. Brody does not think Damien Chazelle’s story of young drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) being brutally treated by conservatory professor, Terence Fletcher (J.K Simmons) is the problem with the movie, but rather thinks that the idea of jazz in the movie is really ugly. He also mentions that the musicians in “Whiplash” do not play much music in his opinion. He says the movie has no music in its soul. “The movie isn’t about jazz; it’s about abuse of power,” states Brody. He believes that “Whiplash” is a work of petty didacticism that does not honor jazz nor cinema.

On the other hand, David Sims of The Atlantic argues in his article, “The Uncomfortable Message in Whiplash’s Dazzling Finale” that he loved the ending of the movie. Sims believes that the movie was filmed and presented as a triumph and that great art was achieved at the end of the film. He talks about how the final scene when Neiman is using all of his superhuman efforts to play the drums, trying to impress Fletcher, surprises him.

In another article, “The Thrilling Whiplash Demolishes the Cliches of Inspirational-teacher cinema,” the author summarizes the movie. He talks about how Fletcher brutally treats Neiman and whether he is a good instructor or not. The author states that he likes the introduction of the movie with the drumroll playing, increasing its speed while the screen is black. He also talks about how the movie shows Neiman’s pain when he plays the drums with blood, sweat, and tears all over him making the viewer feel his pain as well. Overall, the author seems to like the way the film was made.

This author thinks that the movie was crazy but great at the same time. For example, Neiman tried to push himself to be good at playing the drums even though it was disturbing the way Fletcher was abusing him. He tried to impress Fletcher multiple times but Fletcher was never convinced of his playing, saying that he was playing too slow or too fast. Neiman was brought into the Shaffer Conservatory of Music to prove himself but he always struggled to play Fletcher’s tempo. They hated each other and ended up kicked out of Shaffer after they fought and argued during a performance.

They meet each other again in a bar and Fletcher invites Neiman to be in his jazz group for a concert. The day of the concert, Fletcher switches the notes, making Neiman play notes he has not rehearsed. Fletcher tries to humiliate Neiman in front of the audience, after learning he was the one who anonymously fired him. But Neiman reveals himself playing the notes of “Whiplash” he has rehearsed for all this time during the movie, changing the scene on stage. Fletcher has a shocked reaction and goes with the flow of Neiman’s performance. Nieman really takes up a lot of time playing the drums continuously for five minutes but manages to play the way Fletcher expects him to – Fast.

Written by Ivan Diaz
Edited by Jeanette Smith


The New Yorker: Getting Jazz Right in the Movies
The Atlantic: The Uncomfortable Message in Whiplash’s Dazzling Finale
The A.V. Club: The thrilling Whiplash demolishes the cliches of inspirational-teacher cinema

Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commas License


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