Whiplash - 6A,Chak Tsz Hin,Astor

Whiplash

6A,Chak Tsz Hin,Astor

Of all the movie genres, like action, comedy, drama, horror, I despise the musicals the most. Don’t get me wrong, I like all kinds of music, even some overrated music genres like EDM. Music is a very subjective thing to judge, everyone has their own point of view. But for me, music in a movie is like a cherry on the top, it improves the theme of the movie, like the one in the movie ‘Indiana Jones’, The Raiders March theme song adds a stronger atmosphere to the movie. However, using music as a theme of the movie is not my cup of tea. Every time I look at those trailers in which all those actors or actresses dance in the street for no reason, and play that loud, clamorous, fun music I shudder. They just want to sell it as a soundtrack to make extra money. Yes, I’m talking about ‘La La Land’.

‘Whiplash’ isn’t a musical, but it has music as its central theme. When I first saw the cover of Whiplash, I said to myself, ‘Yup, that’s a bad movie to waste my time on.’ But the truth is, it is great.

Whiplash is a movie about an aspiring drummer who catches the eye of a prestigious music teacher. This teacher lets him join his class. Before the first class, this teacher said lots of inspiring things, but when the class actually started, the drummer found out that his teacher was a psychopath who tortures his student for some reasons, verbally as well as psychologically. The teacher was actually a music lunatic who was disappointed because he couldn’t share the same level of his passion with his student, bitter because society worships money over art.

The movie contains some uncomfortable scenes where the teacher suddenly slams a chair on the ground, or throws things at the students. Is like a jump-scare scene from a horror movies. But it also like the ‘spike’ of a jazz music performance, a sudden loud drum sound which you never see coming. All these scenes not only showed the characteristics of the arrogant teacher, but also his passion for music. These scenes hint at the theme of the story: all the anger inside of the main character, waiting to burst out, how he got hit by a car, and couldn’t give his drum performance at an important competition. It all stacked up in the heart of the aspiring drum musician and in the end it explodes.

In the final performance of this young musician, he ignores how bad the teacher treats him, and he plays by his own book. All the audience, the crew, and even his pathetic teacher are shocked at his ability. The tempo of his drum playing is driven by the long rage in his head, his hands are sweating, his whole body is hot. The teacher accepts his performance, and certifies his drum skill, along with his final blow on the song, ‘Caravan’.

Now let’s take a look at the structure of the movie, are you familiar with the ending song ‘Caravan’? The tension in the movie is built up by the torture of the teacher, the tragedy the main character has to face, a young aspiring musician who wants to be a great drummer like Buddy Rich, but who can’t take the things which happen around his life, so he puts all his anger into his drum playing. In the end, this tension hits the audience with an emotional explosion, all the things that have been stacked up blow up all at once in the finale. Like the piece ‘Caravan’, the phenomenal drum solo at the end describes how much rage is in the young musician’s head, but also how much hope.

Whiplash is without a doubt a remarkable movie, a movie which can really hit you hard and make you think. It explores the difficulty in balancing reality with art.

But it also is a good example of music themed movie, with a good build up and movie structure. The burst in the end is what made this movie a masterpiece.

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