Last week, I got the chance to catch a screening of one of this fall’s most anticipated dramas, the Sundance favorite Whiplash. Although I loved the film – stay tuned for my review, which will run during the Toronto Film Festival – I clicked on watching the new international trailer with trepidation. Why would I want to subject myself to J.K. Simmons’ terrifying performance again?
The film’s madness and suspense is all-consuming and the new two-minute ad clearly shows why this high-octane option has been a top hit at film festivals since the beginning of the year. (Nevertheless, my companion Dominic Mill had a more muted response to the film when it premiered at Sundance.)
Although the film is a drama, it has the searing intensity of a tightly coiled thriller. J.K. Simmons is bound to get a flurry of awards love for his penetrating performance as the ruthless, no-nonsense Fletcher. Miles Teller should also get much acclaim for his turn as Andrew, a dedicated drummer who meets the most demanding (and most uncompromising) instructor he will ever know in Fletcher.
Whiplash is not your ordinary tale of professor and pupil, as the trailer makes it clear. Few teachers demand so much of their students to make them bleed and sweat profusely. There is a reason the film was dubbed “Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard,” folks.
Whiplash opens in limited release on October 10 and will likely expand throughout the month, at which point we should all prepare for some major awards love for Damien Chazelle’s exceptional film.