Film #172: Whiplash (2014)

whiplashDirector: Damien Chazelle
Language: English
Length: 107 minutes
Watched: 30 November 2015

Okay, so this was the second in the double-bill that I watched along with Birdman. For some reason, it’s called Session in Japanese. It’s by far the weaker of the two movies in my opinion.

It follows a guy going through music college, and getting an apprenticeship with this man who’s meant to be the greatest jazz musician in the country – but he’s also the toughest, and will push people to their very limits. He’s the kind of person who would charitably be described as “unorthodox”. Just to translate that, then: he’s highly emotionally abusive, quite homophobic, and sometimes physically violent towards his students. He made me very angry as a concept.

I can accept to a certain extent that the kid’s motivation is defined by this teacher, and I think the movie is trying to make a comment about blindly following someone in such a way – but I thought there was going to be a twist halfway through the movie that would allow the kid to get out of the situation or show the teacher some comeuppance. Yet he actually only ends up going back into a very similar situation, in a weak attempt to redeem the teacher character – that in my opinion, absolutely does not work.

I say don’t waste your time. The music was okay in the movie, not my kind of thing, and the biggest positive compliment I can give to the movie is that it manages to stay focused and doesn’t stray too far from its subject. But I’m really not into watching homophobic abuse. How this managed to get into the top 50 on IMDB I’ll never know – or perhaps it’s just because that site’s full of straight males?


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