2014 brought us an independent drama film starring J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. While neither name may be well known to you I feel confident that you would recognize J.K. Simmons if you saw him. ( Jonah Jameson, newspaper boss of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in Spiderman and also in the Farmers Insurance commercials on tv)
Miles Teller plays a freshman drummer (Andrew Neiman) at famous jazz school in NY where he aspires to be as good, remembered as his hero Buddy Rich was. J.K. Simmons plays an eccentric instructor(Terence Fletcher) at the school who is well known for his success and unusual methods for motivating his students to perform at the highest of levels musically. Fletcher discovers Andrew practicing one day, observes him and invites him to come to play with his “Varsity Award Winning Group” to try him out in the “Big Leagues” more or less.
Right away you appreciate how sharp, how intense Simmons is in his acting. He was completely transformed for this role compared to any other role I had seen him in previously(plus he seemed to get physically fitter to further enforce his intimidation factor). Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons have great chemistry on screen in their tug of war between student and teacher. They both push each other as they strive for the purest, the perfection of their art: jazz.
This is a hard hitting drama that will push you, anger you, make you shake your head in disbelief as the duel between instructor and drummer builds through the feature. Whiplash will captivate you as well in an amazing conclusion in its last 20 minutes that was so beautifully executed that I will withhold from even attempting to explain, a worthy film ending that can only be experienced to truly appreciate.
This is a great movie, highly recommended if you are wanting a different kind of edgy drama.