Whiplash 2014

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Christy Lemire, ChristyLemire.com: It's one of the most disturbing entertaining movies I've seen in a long while. Read more

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: It would be an insult to call Chazelle a "promising" filmmaker, as this movie doesn't indicate mere potential - it is evidence of authentic, sometimes blazing talent. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: The movie swings - physically, musically, psychologically, racially. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Whiplash is the second feature written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who expanded it out of a short that played at Sundance last year, and he's a true discovery. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: The film is gripping, funny and inspiring: Imagine "The Karate Kid" with Mr. Miyagi played by R. Lee Armey. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Think John Houseman in "The Paper Chase'' with a touch of Jack Webb's Marine drill sergeant in 'The D.I.,' and you'll get an idea of the extreme hazing and mind games from Simmons that push Teller toward the breaking point. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: The two stars are fully committed to the concept that the pursuit of perfection doesn't always triumph, and the film pounds in the temples with the feverish tempo of a jazz riff. Read more

John Anderson, Wall Street Journal: "Whiplash" will instill not just respect but awe. It also happens to feature a pair of performances that eclipse all else around them. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: The film works, often wonderfully, as a remarkable visualization of jazz music - you feel it and breathe it, just like the musicians - and as a showcase for the two actors at its center. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Directing with a cool, steady hand that renounces shaky-cam the way Fletcher would denounce rock 'n roll, and getting strong performances from his two leads, Chazelle provides a potent metaphor for artistic ambition as both a religion and an addiction. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: Demolishes the cliches of the musical-prodigy genre, investing the traditionally polite stages and rehearsal studios of a topnotch conservatory with all the psychological intensity of a battlefield or sports arena. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: More Full Metal Jacket than Dead Poet's Society, the film is an epic battle of wills between two fanatical artists, one doing everything in his power to painfully make a master out of the other. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Simmons is always good. Here, he is great. His brilliant performance is, if not the single best of the year, certainly among them. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Oh, yes. It's that good. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: This is just a sports drama with a brass section. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "Whiplash" is true to its title. It throws you around with impunity, yet Chazelle exerts tight, exacting control over his increasingly feverish and often weirdly comic melodrama. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Whiplash darts along at an urgent bebop pace and asks questions applicable to most fields: How much are you willing to endure for the chance to be great? And what if cruelty isn't a better motivator than kindness? Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: [Simmons gives] a crisp and nasty performance. The bullied submit, eyes cast down, relieved when they're not the target of his hectoring. His insults are torn from the misogynistic, homophobic playbook. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: 'Whiplash' is electric from beginning to end, a musical story of obsession, frustration and outright cruelty built on two knockout performances. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com: Whiplash is, at best, heightened realism. There's no way that Fletcher could have gotten away with his teaching methods without serious legal - or physical - pushback long before Andrew comes along. But, as drama, it's a crackling good time. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: You don't have to be a jazz fan for Whiplash to zap you with its thrumming live-wire beat (although it doesn't hurt). If you can appreciate the sight of two totally dialed-in performers simmering until they boil over, that's enough. Read more

Eric D. Snider, Film.com: Guaranteed to send you out of the theater on an adrenaline high. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons go toe-to-toe in a potent drama about an ambitious young drummer and his abusive teacher. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: A movie you feel as much as you see, and what you see is both exquisite and excruciating. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: Even with its flaws, "Whiplash" is very much worth seeing. With its shotgun acting, fierce direction and galvanizing music, it nails the most important notes. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: The film's true subject is innate talent - for music, writing, painting, sculpture, plumbing, whatever - and the superhuman lengths we sometimes have to go to in order to wring it out of ourselves. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: This is a student film in rampant overdrive and it will attract attention and offers. So I just hope Mr. Chazelle doesn't believe too much in his film's dumb message. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Primarily two actors and a jazz score, but the result is a crackling good drama that feels almost like a thriller. Smart, stylish and intense. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: "Whiplash" could become the first film to be picketed by the soccer moms of America. Let battle commence. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: If the story is simple, Chazelle spins off on it, the way jazz players reinterpret old standards. His camera comes in close on instruments, fingers, blisters. Shots are cut together in clear but furious flurries. Read more

Tomas Hachard, NPR: Ultimately, what keeps Whiplash from becoming a joyride whose effects last only as long as its adrenaline rush are Simmons and Teller's performances and Chazelle's insight into Andrew's personality. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: You may not even notice the flaws, since we get so many compelling layers to sift through. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: It may get a few things wrong, but it aims at, and finally achieves, an authenticity at once more exalted and more primal than mere verisimilitude. Read more

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: Rarely has a movie shown so viscerally the utter pain that can accompany the bliss of creating good music. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: It's as much a horror movie as it is a keenly realized indie about jazz, about art, about what it takes to claim greatness. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: At times, it evidences the qualities of a can't-turn-away car wreck: brutal and horrific yet compelling. At other times, it has the rhythms of a sports drama with all the ups and downs inherent in that genre. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Damien Chazelle stages S&M drum duels with strafing mastery. And Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons will blow you away. Beat the drums for a Simmons Oscar, and add a cymbal crash for Whiplash. It's electrifying. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: This is a muscular and accomplished work of kinetic cinema built around two tremendous acting performances ... Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: To watch J.K. Simmons in "Whiplash" is always to be wondering what it is you're seeing and what is going on in this man's mind. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Even if you couldn't care less about jazz drumming ... Whiplash is a thrill to watch. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: A bruising, anger-scarred music academy drama not to be missed. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Ultimately, "Whiplash" isn't just about jazz - and it's not necessary to be a fan of the music to enjoy the film - but about life. Read more

Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail: An intense, unmelodious, highly amped and probably unrealistic drama set in the fictionalized Schaefer Conservatory in New York. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Quite simply, Whiplash is one of the year's best films. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: The editing (by Tom Cross) matches the film's jazz rhythms, up to and including a climactic drum solo that's more hold-your-breath suspenseful than a dozen superhero rooftop battles. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Whiplash scrapes the far edge of crazy passion. It never apologizes. Read more

Jim Slotek, Toronto Sun: Director Damien Chazelle, who based the story on his own experience as a student jazz drummer in the thrall of an Alpha task-master, has created a remarkably economical and claustrophobic piece of storytelling. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Music instruction and combat are rarely linked in movies, and particularly not in the singularly riveting way they come together in Whiplash. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: If Whiplash doesn't quite hang together, Chazelle has still managed to pack it with some wonderful ideas ... Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The title Whiplash is dead-on. That's what it is; that's what it gives you. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: At its best, "Whiplash" conveys with pungent detail the striving of young people eager to make their bones in a Manhattan that's as foul and forbidding as it is seductive. Read more