Evan Eaton’s review published on Letterboxd:
Alright gang, Whiplash. Coming from the biased perspective of someone who drummed his way through years of music lessons as an adolescent, the personal relativity of this picture placed it in a league of its own. Of course, that's not to say it's just musicians who'll find themselves empathising with this masterful drama.
Damien Chazelle is a man who is determined to define every detail, never failing to render the clearest scope on reality. Each scene is a climaxing crescendo of emotion, with depth to every breath of dialogue. The precision in pace and seductively swift editing brings to life everything within the frame, seemingly furthering the astonishing acting abilities of the cast. Justin Hurwitz' score hits mesmerisingly melodious notes, solidifying the believability of Shaffer Conservatory's position as musical professionals.
Before my first watch of Whiplash, I was clueless to what J.K. Simmons was capable of. To my recollection, the highest point of his career preceding this was a cigar-chewing journalist who had a severe hatred for men in tights. The character from Sam Raimi's Spiderman trilogy was the head of a newspaper firm titled 'The Daily Bugle,' coincidentally. Despite his role in something as monumental as the Marvel world, after witnessing Whiplash I couldn't help but contemplate how underused Simmons truly is. Of all actors to have earned themselves Oscars in the past decade, this man is a top contender for the most deserved performance. Veins bulge from Simmons' reddened face with every scream of verbal vulgarity, producing one of the scariest personalities in film history. Chazelle's screenplay elevates the dialogue, adding to the military-like Jazz tutor's animosity.
Where Miles Teller has bored me before, here he hit me, hard. Teller's portrayl of passion-crazed dreamer Andrew Neiman displays nothing but sheer talent, emphasising the progressively heightening determination of the character. The subtle nuances of fear-stricken disbelief place the audience straight into Andrew's sweat soaked shoes, allowing us to truly understand the shocking gut punch of his newfound vicious teacher. This picture conveys the art form of acting at its most dedicated, enabling the entertainment quality to soar higher and higher through each act.
I defy anyone who watches Whiplash and comes away disapproving of it. Chazelle's exploration through the sacrifices of honing an ambitious aspiration is simply astonishing, and his directorial debut is nothing short of an utter masterpiece. It's not just great, it's one of the greats.