MOVIE REVIEW - "WHIPLASH"

david prown 120The new independent film "Whiplash" starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons mostly caught my eye as it looked intense and these are 2 interesting actors. Teller reminds me of a young James Dean with a great look, some interesting facial scars and a quiet likability. He looked very familiar and checked his filmography yet didn't recognize any of his films (meaning I didn't see them).

J.K. Simmons has been in a million films generally in a supportive role at best and adored him as a supportive loving Dad in "Juno" and more recently "Men, Women and Children". He too has this great look with a fascinating face and great wrinkles (can I say that?).

Miles, plays Andrew, a budding and very, very serious jazz drummer studying at one of the best music schools in the country. He finally makes into the schools top ensemble and all hell breaks out. Simmons plays the ensembles conductor in the vein of the Robert Duvall in the "Great Santini". This guy is vile, driven, perfectionist, lunatic…you really have to see to believe. He makes Bobby Knight-types look like a choir boys. The language, the abuse, the threats etc. never would survive in todays world but it makes for captivating theatre.

If you love jazz ensembles, you'll see some amazing performances. Clearly Teller has real life drumming chops as you dub what shows on the screen. The intensity, sweat, pain, blood, talent and more is simply fantastic.

I really don't want to say more except that the previews in no way giveaway the film. But the battle between the student/teacher, who are both driven perfectionists in their own way makes for excellent theatre. This movie was relentless, driving, pounding  and kept me "locked in"....no naps in this one.

Playing for 1 more week at the Bow-Tie in Red Bank.