Whiplash ★★★★

J.K. Simmons is a revelation and Miles Teller continues to cultivate a distinctive, almost roughneck charm in this visceral, harrowing, and frequently powerful story of a student musician and the tyrannical instructor who drives him to perfection — at a bit of a cost. It’s a decidedly thoughtful take on a moldy old trope, questioning with great emotional force the kind of conclusions we usually draw from these stories. It’s nerve-wracking but ultimately rewarding viewing that leaves as much blood on the skins as its protagonist.

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