It’s no doubt that Whiplash is an awards player for Oscar Season 2014. It’s even strange for a movie lover not to be predicting J.K. Simmons (arguably Edward Norton for Birdman too) as the frontrunner to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. But as the season unfolds, I’m praying that Supporting Actor isn’t only the category that we see Whiplash appear in come nomination morning this upcoming January. This is because I feel that Whiplash isn’t only the best movie of the year, but one of the greatest American films ever made. Some may think that I am overreacting with my love for the film (it’s my sole 10/10 this year so far, but there are still so many films to go…so I won’t close the book on that one yet) but I honestly stand by it because it’s the complete package. As a movie, Whiplash is so original, so electrifying that I wish I could pick the heads of everybody I know just so I can persuade them to go see it and give it a chance. Here are a few reasons why I think it’s still the Best Film of this year, and why I know it won’t be dethroned.
1. THE MOVIE REMINDS ME OF WHY I LOVE MOVIES – There’s so many ways to watch a film: on your television, on your laptop. But there’s only one true way to see it and that’s in a cinema filled with other people from different backgrounds. The part of the impact of films is the reactions audiences give. In my whole 22 years of watching films (I’m obviously young but I’ve seen a good number of movies), there are only a few films that leave you shaken and wanting to stand up and clap. Everyone in the theatre I was in (I saw it three times) clapped at the conclusion of the film. It was that brilliant, and everyone sharing that moment made me realize that this is why movies are amazing. The feelings that it invokes to the audience collectively.
2. DAMIEN CHAZELLE IS A FUTURE MASTER – This young filmmaker has accomplished something so original and unique in Whiplash that it’s not difficult to see him as a future master that delivers films worthy of attention. The film is reminiscent of the 1970s greats, original storytelling and shedding the light on topics tackled before but in awhile new perspective. That is what makes things great. I can’t wait to see Chazelle’s next movie, and with Miles Teller too! Plus, he is a director who loves movies. You can tell by the way he shoots scenes and feels the subject matter. In an interview (Academy Conversations which is found on youtube) he asks Miles Teller to watch Raging Bull (1980) and Control (2007) to understand the character more. And then you realize that you can see influences from those two films in Whiplash. He draws inspiration from things that he loves, and that’s pretty brilliant.
3. MILES TELLER AND J.K. SIMMONS – One of the best things about movies is when you are surprised with the performances the actors achieve. Miles Teller was better then J.K. Simmons, and yet he has no awards attention because of politics. But man, he was a true revelation. You see this new familiar face in such movies like Divergent (meh) and The Spectacular Now and you say, “that kid’s good!” but when you finally say, “I never knew he had that in him”. Then that is a different ball game all together. Simmons, is always wonderful. He been a familiar face in the movies for a long, and he’s definitely overdue and I’m so happy that he’s finally receiving the recognition that he deserves. Plus, he’d be one of the best supporting actor wins of all time. Without these two people perfectly casted in the right times of their lives, Whiplash would never have worked.
4. IT’S DAMN CINEMATIC – Movies are a visual medium at the end of the day. But a lot films (especially chamber dramas and mindless comedies) forget to make anything even remotely cinematic about them. 75% of the films we see today are simply people talking to one another, going to point A to point B or doing actions on the screen. But Whiplash never misses a mark. Every frame, ever single scene and the way it’s edited doesn’t only bring you into the life of Andrew and his hardships with Professor Fletcher but it reminds us that cinema is larger then life, an escape from reality, a stylized moment that audiences should and will enjoy.
5. THE PASSION – I haven’t felt this passionate about a newly released movie since 2006, when repeated viewings of The Departed was apart of my life. As a fan, I was just lucky that it won Best Picture, and that my favourite director Martin Scorsese finally won the Academy Award. But my passion for Whiplash got me back to the theatre 3 times before the film closed in just one week. ONE FUCKING WEEK?! My passion for this film will keep me to continue writing articles like this, and forcing my family and friends to watch it immediately, and lastly be a supporter of the industry by buying the tickets this film deserve and the DVD or Blu-Ray as soon as the film hits the shops.
So please, do yourself a favour and see the movie instantly. If you don’t like it, then that’s not something I can fight you about because at the end of the day, taste in film is very subjective. But I’ll put my money on it that if you stay till the end, you will not regret loosing these precious minutes of your life. Trust me, it’s more thought provoking, emotional and sometimes an even funner way of using your time then seeing another mindless comedy or franchise film that wants to show off their special effects.