107 minutes,, U.S.A., 2014, Colour, D-Cinema

This film was released on Friday 16th January 2015 and is no longer screening.

Tipped to figure prominently in the upcoming awards season, Damien Chazelle’s sophomore effort follows a dedicated 19-year-old jazz drummer Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), student at an elite New York music conservatory, as he strives to become one of the alltime greats under the tutelage of Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Eschewing a traditional, nurturing student-teacher dynamic, Whiplash instead pits the two as adversaries, with Fletcher relentlessly and remorselessly pushing his charge physically and psychologically, often with a borderline cruelty that, despite causing simmering resentment, is nevertheless accepted by Andrew as essential to his development as a musician.

The film itself is however, far from an endurance test: the mesmerising Simmons’ diatribes are laced with savage wit; a budding relationship with shy cinema employee Melissa Benoist provides some touching moments; and the soundtrack, naturally, is outstanding, while the film builds to a genuinely exhilarating climax. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)

★★★★★ Entertainment.ie ★★★★★ Movies.ie ★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ Irish Independent

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