Short/Feature: Whiplash

Whiplash cover

Whiplash

The Short:

Whiplash short screenshot

Year: 2013 | Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Even in this one-scene, 18-minute short version of Whiplash, writer-director Damien Chazelle proves that he knows how to capture and enthrall an audience. You literally cannot look away and are kept on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Such a prodigious talent (and that might be an understatement).

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 18 min.
Rating: TV-14

Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Johnny Simmons, J.K. Simmons, Nate Lang, C.J. Vana

The Feature:

Whiplash feature screenshot

Year: 2014 | Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s not very often that I increase my rating on a film after a rewatch, but having just seen Whiplash for the first time since its release nearly ten years ago, I feel as though it really clicked for me upon second viewing. I enjoyed it well enough the first time, but now, I see that this is a nearly flawless masterpiece with themes that have only become more relevant in the years since I first saw it.

And to be honest, my main issue the first time around was with a specific climatic plot point that just really didn’t work for me. It felt contrived and melodramatic, and actually took me out of the world of the film with how out-of-place it seemed. But having watched it again just now, I’ve found that it really didn’t seem to be those things at all. I really can’t say why it left such a bad taste in my mouth when I first saw it back in 2014, but I can say that I am very glad that I decided to rewatch this film, because it just shot way up on my personal list of favorite films of all time.

One thing that is so obvious that I barely feel the need to mention it is that the end of this film will almost certainly be remembered for decades to come as one of the greatest endings in the history of cinema. I was afraid that it would lose some of the power that it had over me when I first saw it in an empty theater at 2am on a Friday evening (I was watching after a shift at the movie theater that I worked at at the time), but nope; I felt just as much adrenaline and anxiety and…honestly, emotions that I don’t even know how to describe watching this film on my TV at home as I did on the big screen — so much so that I had tears streaming down my face by the end of it.

This is simply virtuoso filmmaking by a ridiculously talented filmmaker that we’re lucky is so young and has so many more years of productivity ahead of him.

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1 hr. 46 min.
Rating: R

Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell

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