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
Popularity
212 ( 3)
Top Rated Movies #44 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 94 wins & 145 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 Nate Lang ... Carl Tanner
Chris Mulkey ... Uncle Frank
Damon Gupton ... Mr. Kramer
Suanne Spoke ... Aunt Emma
Max Kasch ... Dorm Neighbor
Charlie Ian Charlie Ian ... Dustin
Jayson Blair ... Travis
Kofi Siriboe ... Bassist (Nassau)
Kavita Patil ... Assistant - Sophie
C.J. Vana ... Metz
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Storyline

Nineteen year old Andrew Niemann wants to be the greatest jazz drummer in the world, in a league with Buddy Rich. This goal is despite not coming from a pedigree of greatest, musical or otherwise, with Jim, his high school teacher father, being a failed writer. Andrew is starting his first year at Shaffer Conservatory of Music, the best music school in the United States. At Shaffer, being the best means being accepted to study under Terence Fletcher and being asked to play in his studio band, which represents the school at jazz competitions. Based on their less than positive first meeting, Andrew is surprised that Fletcher asks him to join the band, albeit in the alternate drummer position which he is more than happy to do initially. Andrew quickly learns that Fletcher operates on fear and intimidation, never settling for what he considers less than the best each and every time. Being the best in Fletcher's mind does not only entail playing well, but knowing that you're playing well ... Written by Huggo

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where J.K. Simmons yells "I will fuck you like a pig," you may notice that the camera cuts away from him when he delivers that line. The line was actually taken from the short film; the original line was "I am going to gut you like a fucking pig." Damien Chazelle thought the new line was hilarious and included it in the production script. Simmons thought it was ridiculous and refused to say that line, but Chazelle included the 'mistake' in post-production anyway. See more »

Goofs

At the JVC festival, a guitarist can be seen strumming to the tracks "Upswinging" and "Caravan", which does not contain any guitar work. However, in "Caravan", there is brief slide notes played on guitar after the brief trombone solo. See more »

Quotes

Terence Fletcher: Do you think you're out of tune? What are you... there's no fucking Mars Bar down there, what are you looking at? Look up here, look at me. Do you think you were out of tune?
Metz: Yes.
Terence Fletcher: THEN WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU SAY SO? Carried your fat ass for too long, Metz. I'm not gonna have you cost us a competition because your mind's on a fucking happy meal instead of on pitch.
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Movies of 2014 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

No Two Words
Written by Justin Hurwitz
Produced by Nicholas Britell
Courtesy of Lake George Entertainment, L.L.C. and Justin Hurwitz
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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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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, 12 October 2014

Gross USA:

$13,092,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,396,747
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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