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'Whiplash': An instructor's 'tough love' is more disturbing than anything

The drama in which drumming prodigy Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) faces off against J.K. Simmons' instructor Terence Fletcher brings up the question of why Terence wasn't brought up on charges long ago.

Daniel McFadden/Sony Pictures/AP
Melissa Benoist (l.) and Miles Teller act in a scene from 'Whiplash,' which was a big Sundance fave this year.

“Whiplash,” a big Sundance fave this year, is about a drumming prodigy, Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), who tangles with Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the fearsome jazz conservatory instructor whose elite ensemble he desperately wants to join. Terence is such a bullying terror, and his scenes with Andrew are so vehement, that some people have taken to calling the film “Full Metal Juilliard.”

I don’t get the enthusiasm for this movie, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, which is such a cooked-up piece of claptrap that I half expected Darth Vader to pick up the baton. We’re supposed to think that Terence’s tough love is more “honest” than the usual pussyfooting tutelage, but in any sane society this guy would have been brought up on charges long ago. Grade: C (Rated R for strong language including some sexual references.)

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