Sunday, March 1, 2015

Whiplash: Perfect Timing

by Drew Martin
Last night I saw the brilliant film Whiplash about the demanding atmosphere of jazz musician students at the Shaffer Conservatory, a fictitious stand-in for The Juilliard School in New York City. It focuses on a jazz drummer (played by Miles Teller) and the all-consuming life of trying to achieve and then hold on to the coveted position as core drummer in the elite studio band, which is conducted by a drill sergeant of a teacher (an amazing performance by J. K. Simmons). The film is, of course, about jazz, and drumming, but it is really about the drive for perfection and the caustic and abusive relationships that are sometimes needed to achieve great things.