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A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

Director:

Damien Chazelle

Writer:

Damien Chazelle
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271 ( 43)

Director's Trademarks: The Films of Damien Chazelle

First Man director Damien Chazelle's cinematic world is populated by characters driven by singular ambition and framed with technical and stylistic flourishes.

Watch our guide to Damien's films

Top Rated Movies #43 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 89 wins & 136 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miles Teller ... Andrew
J.K. Simmons ... Fletcher
Paul Reiser ... Jim Neimann
Melissa Benoist ... Nicole
Austin Stowell ... Ryan
Nate Lang ... Carl Tanner
Chris Mulkey ... Uncle Frank
Damon Gupton ... Mr. Kramer
Suanne Spoke ... Aunt Emma
Max Kasch ... Dorm Neighbor
Charlie Ian ... Dustin
Jayson Blair ... Travis
Kofi Siriboe ... Bassist (Nassau)
Kavita Patil ... Assistant - Sophie
C.J. Vana ... Metz
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Storyline

A young and talented drummer attending a prestigious music academy finds himself under the wing of the most respected professor at the school; one who does not hold back on abuse towards his students. The two form an odd relationship as the student wants to achieve greatness, and the professor pushes him. Written by andrewhodkinson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The road to greatness can take you to the edge

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 October 2014 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

Whiplash See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$135,388, 10 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,092,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,982,041
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Throughout the film, the cymbals on the different drum kits are Bosphorus-cymbals, except for the last scene where the ones on the kit are made by a company called Istanbul Agop Cymbals. See more »

Goofs

In the Overbrook competition, we hear a section of Whiplash with some flutes. The flutes would have been played by the saxophones, but none of the saxophones have flutes with them on stage. See more »

Quotes

Terence Fletcher: [melancholic] Guys, just put your instruments down for a minute.
[plays a slow trumpet song through speakers]
Terence Fletcher: Just listen for a minute. Six years ago, I came across a kid in a practice room, working on his scales. He was early second year and he'd started at Shaffer with a lot of hope. Like all you guys. But the truth was that he barely squeaked in to begin with and, uh... he was really struggling. The faculty were all telling him, "Maybe this isn't for you." But they didn't see what I saw. This ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Studio Band Eavesdrop
Written by Tim Simonec
Courtesy of 5AM Music Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Just My Tempo
26 October 2014 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The pursuit of greatness is not always pretty. No matter if your dream is athletics, dancing, music or some other; you can be sure hard work and sacrifice will be part of your routine. You will likely have a mentor, teacher or coach whose job is to cultivate your skills while pushing you to new limits. This film questions whether the best approach is intimidation or society's current preferred method of nurturing.

Miles Teller plays Andrew, a first year student at an elite Manhattan music conservatory. Andrew dreams of being a great jazz drummer in the vein of Buddy Rich. When offered a rare shot at the top ensemble, Andrew quickly discovers the conductor is a breed unlike anything he has ever encountered. The best movie comparison I can offer for JK Simmons' portrayal of Terence Fletcher is R Lee Ermey's Drill Instructor in Full Metal Jacket. This is no Mr Holland's Opus. Fletcher bullies, intimidates, humiliates and uses every imaginable form of verbal abuse to push his musicians, and especially young Andrew, to reach for greater heights.

Andrew and Fletcher go head to head through the entire movie, with Fletcher's mental torment turning this into a psychological thriller ... albeit with tremendous music. We witness Andrew shut out all pieces of a personal life, and even take on some of Fletcher's less desirable traits. Andrew's diner break-up with his girlfriend (Melissa Benoist) is much shorter, but just as cold as the infamous opening scene in The Social Network. At a small dinner party, Andrew loses some of the sweetness he inherited from his dad (Paul Reiser), and unloads some Fletcherisms on some unsuspecting family friends.

Writer/Director Damien Chazelle has turned his Sundance award-winning short film into a fascinatingly brutal message movie that begs for discussion and debate. The open-ended approach is brilliant, though I found myself initially upset at the missing clean wrap that Hollywood so often provides. What price greatness? Is comeuppance a reward? Are mentors cruel to be kind? For the past few years, I have been proclaiming that Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) is the next John Cusack. Perhaps that bar is too low. Teller just gets better with each film. His relentless energy draws us in, and we find ourselves in his corner ... even though this time, he's not the greatest guy himself. Still, as strong as Teller is, the film is owned by JK Simmons. Most think of him as the dad in Juno, or the ever-present insurance spokesman on TV, but he previously flashed his bad side as the white supremacist in "Oz". Even that, doesn't prepare us for Simmons' powerhouse performance ... just enough humanity to heighten his psychological torturing of musicians.

You should see this one for Simmons' performance. Or see it for the up and coming Teller. Enjoy the terrific music, especially Duke Ellington's "Caravan". See it for the talking points about teachers, society and personal greatness. See it for any or all these reasons - just don't tell director Damien Chazelle "good job".


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