The yearly Sundance Film Festival has become one of the best proving grounds for new and fresh directors, many of whom have gone onto bigger and better things. Few have received the almost unanimous acclaim as Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, the filmmaker’s second feature film, which won the coveted Grand Jury prize AND the Audience Award after kicking off the festival.
It stars Miles Teller (Footloose) as Andrew, a young first year drummer at the Schaeffer Music Academy who dreams of becoming one of the jazz greats like his hero Buddy Rich. He finally gets his chance when the director of the school’s most prestigious jazz band, Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), offers Andrew a chance to play drums in his band. That opportunity comes with its own share of difficulties as Fletcher turns out to be a ruthless and unforgiving taskmaster who pushes Andrew with his mind games.
Whenever people talk about the great films of the year, the same directors’ names always tend to come up, but when it comes to the new breed, you can’t get a director with a stronger vision than what Chazelle brings to his very personal story. With one of the best scripts of the year and unforgettable performances by Simmons and Teller, you end up with a movie so edgy and thrilling that it’s hard to shake it after watching it.
ComingSoon.net had a chance to sit down with Chazelle last week for the video interview below where he talks about the genesis of the project and creating the film’s unique tempo and look through editing but also what Simmons and Teller brought to it with their dedication to their respective roles.
Whiplash is now playing in select cities and will continue to expand over the next few months.