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Review Whiplash (2014): Did Simmons deserve the oscar? No, he did not.

genre: drama, music

Before I begin this review, let us first look at the quotes on the film poster above. How can you go wrong with so much praise. Personally, such quotes rarely impress me. In fact, I always feel the urge to challenge them because often I think they put them on there to make the film look better than it actually is. 

And sorry to say, but this also is the case here. I am not saying that Whiplash is bad. There are quite a few gripping and intense scenes, especially in the beginning. But it lacks real character development and story. It's a tale about an ambitious pupil who wants to learn from the best and get the most out of himself. J.K. Simmons portrays the teacher / drill sergeant who pushes his pupils over the edge. I think for some people, discipline might help improve skills and talent. But there are more than enough people on which that will have quite the opposite effect, and therefore makes the approach from teacher Fletcher a bit unrealistic. Especially if the character resorts to verbal and corporal punishment. And I honestly really fail to see the upside to being humiliated. Let alone that it would benefit someone. Some of the events are downright ridiculous and too dramatic for its own good that I began losing interest. Or simply could not take it very seriously. I liked the finale, which was predictable, but not how it leaves you to interpret what the outcome will be. Which is very weak. My biggest problem is that there haven't been enough events or scenes where it was shown why Fletcher was so brilliant. It is asked of us to believe that he is. Why not show us? Why not make it clear to the audience that Fletcher's intentions are honourable and good. We barely get to see the good side of Fletcher. And when it happens, it usually is to trick the characters and make them look like fools. 

Now, the only reason these characters are tolerable is how they are being portrayed. They do their best to make it look sincere and convincing. J.K. Simmons does well, but I have seen him do much better, and I did not find his performance to be Oscar worthy. Actually, I think this film is not nearly as electrifying or astounding as mentioned in the film poster. Decent watch but nothing more, nothing less.

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