An In-Depth Analysis Of Whiplash ( Spoiler Alert !)

If you read my reviews, you may know about my love for the critically-acclaimed 2014 movie ‘Whiplash‘. Since I live in India, I got to see Whiplash in 2015 after its Oscar glory gave it much required publicity. I lamented on the fact that I got to see this only in 2015 when the whole world had seen and was raving about in 2014. Whiplash was on everybody’s 2014 top 10 movies list, including that of my favourite film critic Chris Stuckmann’s list, in which ended up on the No.2 position. But since I saw it in 2015, I will definitely include it in my 2015 list in which it will most probably get the first position.

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Why ? Because Whiplash, in my opinion is one of the greatest films ever made. If you have checked the  ‘About Me’ feature on my blog, you may have noticed that Whiplash is fifth on my list of the Top 10 Greatest Films Ever Made, and if you haven’t, here’s the link : https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/about/ . Now, you may say that I am exaggerating. That I am just a stupid teenager who doesn’t know crap about movies and will include any good movie that he has seen to his ‘Great Movies’ list. With all respect, I am not.

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This is a great movie, from the start to the end. This a movie that people are gonna look 25 years from now and say ‘That is a classic’. This will be on every ‘Great Movies’ list. Damien Chazelle will probably be where Quentin Tarantino is right now. (or where Shyamalan is right now, let’s hope that not happens). This will be helmed as one of the greatest independent features ever made. Reservoir Dogs is considered as ‘The Greatest Independent Film Of All Time’. But, that is the position that Whiplash will occupy after 25 years. And fortunately, I seem to sense it now. That’s why it occupies that position on my list.

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So today, my best friend payed me an unexpected visit to celebrate the first price I acquired in my extempore competition, and since I had nothing to entertain him or me, I turned to Whiplash, the movie that I never get tired of watching. After watching the movie, I looked up my review of  Whiplash, which also happens to be the first movie I reviewed as well. I am sure that many of you will find it very juvenile in its nature, so read it only if you haven’t watched the movie. https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/whiplash-review/

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So, a short prep. Whiplash is about Andrew Neiman, a jazz drummer who wants to become one of the greats. And when he is selected for a studio band, he thinks it is his first step towards greatness. But it may well become the last step as well if he doesn’t hold up against the psychological torture by the band’s curator, Terence Fletcher.

This film obviously deserves a second viewing, but I gave it its ninth viewing yesterday and I found many elements hidden deep within this movie. So let’s get started :-

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First of all, you may wonder why Andrew was selected. Throughout the film, one thing is apparent, Fletcher wants complete control. That’s why I think he avoids socializing and all that. He has a created a little world for himself where he is the God, where he can impose control over people. He tests his control everyday. When he enters the class, everybody has to stand up. When he moves those fingers and gives those signals, everyone has to start at the right time. That’s what attracted him to Andrew, because in their first encounter Andrew doesn’t listen to him. Nor does he stand up when Fletcher enters the room. He even begins drumming without Fletcher’s cues. He was selected just to grill him and mould him into one of his subjects.

I too in my post regarding the nominees and winners of Oscars 2015 (https://demandedcriticalreviews.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/oscars-2015/) criticized the Academy for giving the Oscar for Best Editing to Tom Cross for Whiplash instead of Sandra Adair for Boyhood. I sill stand-by that statement, Sandra Adair just proves why she is my favourite editor in Hollywood with that movie. But, I can now clearly see why the Academy might have come to their conclusion about this category.

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There is a scene in which Fletcher auditions Andrew, Ryan and Tanner for a rigorous 10 hours. So, the general perception we concur from that scene is that the audition lasted for only one hour because our only reliable source of time in those scenes were the occasional shots of the clock. But, Tom Cross put in an extra scene, a completely unrelated scene in the flick with an exterior view of the exit of the Conservatory to show that it was night. Sheer brilliance !

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Now, the first thing that I think attracted Fletcher towards Neiman is that he is a lot like him. Take into consideration the restaurant sequence of Andrew and Nicole. Andrew grills her, in a controlled way, and enforces a superiority complex in their relationship. He wants dominance because he ain’t got nothing from his family which constantly downplays his drumming. He forces Nicole to blurt out the truth that she chose her university just because it was the only one that let her in, while he chose his because it was the best music school in the country. Also, Andrew too considers everyone else lower than him. The standing testimony is when Ryan is given Andrew’s part, and he just vents his anger and calls him Johny Utah while in the next shot, Fletcher too calls him as Johny Utah.

And the ending ! Forget the drum solo, look at the meaning. It gave me a chill when I understood it in its entirety. Fletcher wins ! Now you are like ‘What the fuck is this guy talking about ? That asshole was drummed up his ass by Miles Teller !’ No, he wasn’t. Fletcher never had the potential to be great. But, in his conscious he was already great, he just wanted the world to admit it as well. Since he couldn’t prove this as a pianist, Fletcher employs another method – to be a kingmaker. That is the whole point of the ‘Bird’ story. As you may remember, early into the movie, Fletcher narrates to Andrew a story about how Charlie Parker became the Bird only after Jo Jones threw a cymbal at his head.

That’s what happened here as well. He made Andrew defeat him. He made Andrew great. He escalated Andrew to the position of Charlie Parker, which in turn, escalated him to the position of Jo Jones. He created such a scenario that wherever Andrew’s name will be taken, he will also be remembered.

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That’s what that smile was about. Both, Andrew as well as Fletcher acknowledged the actual truth. It was a paradigm shift in both their roles. But don’t be sad because Fletcher wins, because in a way Andrew too wins the bout.

I don’t know if what all I said is right or wrong, but there is one thing I know for sure and that is the fact that Whiplash is one of the best movies of the decade, and I would say one of the greatest movies ever made. It is an incendiary masterpiece, which I foretell that people, after 25 years will shout and say, ‘ That was THE MOVIE ! ‘

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. YOU CAN ALSO REQUEST A REVIEW OF A MOVIE OR SITCOM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/pages/Demanded-Critical-Reviews/1565666967024477?ref=hl YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

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Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes.

Before Sunrise Reviewed & Analyzed

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                            I like to feel his eyes on me when I look awayCeline

Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise is about Celine (Julie Delpy) who is on a train to Paris on which she meets Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and after Jesse strikes up a conversation with Celine, they find they have sort of connection with each other. Jesse has decided to get off at Vienna and catch a flight next morning. So he urges Celine to get off with him at Vienna and spend a day just talking, and surprisingly Celine obliges. So, Jesse and Celine just wander around in Vienna discussing about love while trying to come in terms with the obvious spark between them.

Ethan Hawke is brilliant. The way he conducts himself around this movie is superb. If you have watched the movie, you may remember the scene in which Jesse urges Celine to roam around and talk in Vienna for a day. There was more than dialogue to it. Instead of asking Celine in the predicted way which is keep on requesting, he just gets up and points repeatedly at the door. That was a moment of utter brilliance. Julie Delpy is phenomenal in this movie. The way she asserts her dialogues is just fascinating. A low, sweet voice yet commanding. And in many movies, when a character has a foreign accent, the narrative keeps on using it to make hilarious moments. There were only two or three mentions of Celine’s accent and the rest of the time, the narrative impressively downplayed it.

I watched this movie the previous Saturday and honest to god, I didn’t sleep a bit. My style of forming a review is that when I am in a cinema hall, I just write down the points at the intermission and at the end and then elaborate on them. When I am watching it on DVD or television I take down the points at an interval of 45 minutes. And the time I was finished with Before Sunrise, I had a page full of points. Then i went to sleep. But I kept on thinking about this movie and had a new point every 15 minutes or so. I had went to sleep at 1 am but I finally slept at 4 am.

Such is the brilliance of this flick. This review is going to be very long because it wouldn’t be justice to this review and the movie if I don’t analyze this movie deeply. And don’t worry, it is spoiler free.

This film is not for everyone. It is basically just two people walking around Vienna and presenting their ideologies about love and life. They also meet certain characters which also present them with a new perspective. The movie is basically just two people just talking to each other for 101 minutes. But there isn’t a second where I was bored by either Celine nor Jesse. I should have wrote this review a lot earlier, but I gave it the one week test. So, what you do is you watch a movie and if you have liked it, try to picture the characters in the movie after a week, and if you can do that, it means the characters have stayed with you. I did it with Celine and Jesse and their image came into my mind as clear as if they were still in motion on my computer screen.

This movie would have been a huge failure if it had only been Linklater as the screenplay writer. There would have been a moment where Celine would have been downplayed. Linklater and Kim Krizan have bestowed their thoughts and ideologies into two characters. The ideologies of both Celine and Jesse are poles apart. But, that’s what makes them a perfect match. An ideologies is contradicted by the other one which is contradicted by the other one and so on.

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The chemistry between the leads is so pure. I think one of the most definitive and unsung moments of this movie is when Jesse and Celine get on a train and Jesse tries to move Celine’s hair near her ears and Celine just obstructs his hand and does it herself. It is a blink and miss moment which many haven’t noticed at all. But that was the inception of their relationship actually. From not letting Jesse touch even her air, Celine lets down the guard, takes Jesse’s hand and puts it around her. That was where the romance blossomed I think.

There are different ideologies presented in Before Sunrise that I would like to discuss about. Once was when Jesse says that although people say they actually save time by using technology, nobody ever uses that acquired time. I love movies which challenge my own beliefs. Once other ideology of Jesse was that reincarnation is not real. I was of the belief that reincarnation is real but the logic Jesse puts forth has changed my whole perspective about that topic. Another was that everything we do is a way to be loved little more. That’s right, don’t you think ? I study because I want to be loved more by parents, I write this reviews because I want to be loved by the cinema going audience and I do my homework to be loved by my teachers. It all adds up, doesn’t it ?

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Then there is a scene in the movie where Jesse and Celine go to a record store and listen to a single at the listening booth. That scene I think is the most intimate scene I have seen in all the movies that I have watched. So, when Jesse looks at Celine she turns her head away and when Celine looks at Jesse, he turns his head away and when none of them are looking at each other, they have a smirk on their faces. Then there is another scene in which Jesse and Celine fake call each other at a restaurant and Celine says ‘ I like to feel his eyes on me when I am looking away’. That is the only uniting factor between these stark different personalities, that they both like to feel each other’s eyes on them when they are looking away. That was the building block of their relationship I guess.

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Fake phone call scene ! Jesse and Celine confess to each other everything that they felt about each other from the first time they met on that train. It is a definitive moment in the movie because for the past 50 minutes we had been hearing their thoughts, not feelings. The movie would have been sort of incomplete without that scene.

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I think one of the reason this movie feels so otherworldly, special or romantic is that this romance was officially never meant to happen. Jesse was to get off a Vienna and Celine at Paris. They would have never even talked if it wasn’t for that fighting couple. That’s destiny as we know it.

Also, the movie explores finite relationships. The ones that explored finite relationships are (500)Days of Summer, Up in the Air and Annie Hall. So you know how awesome this one’s gonna be as well. (Annie Hall wasn’t that great) It just shows that relationships don’t have to be in motion till the end. They can last a very short time and yet leave an unexpected impact on an individual’s life. Everything Celine and Jesse believed in was challenged in a day. Before Sunrise is like a debate. It doesn’t have a final verdict on which side was more satisfying. That is left to us, the audience.

The most philosophical among the ideas put forth was when Jesse said he hated himself. That is so true ! I hate myself. I hate that I don’t go out and socialize. I hate that I can’t strike up a conversation. I hate that I can’t pick up fights. My body is a cage in itself. Real freedom is when we can break from the shackles of our own personality. When we do the things we could have never done before. You know how you are gonna react to every situation which appears in front of you. If somebody picked up a fight with me, I will just defend myself and complain to the class teacher. But there is always this desire, that I just break the guy’s nose. There is freedom within us, it is just hard to unleash it from our self-created shackles.

The cinematographer is a genius. Has anybody noticed that the scene in which Celine walks towards her compartment is exactly the same ? The most thoughtful shot of the movie was the one in the climax where all the locations that Celine and Jesse visited are shown one by one. They look so quiet, so uninteresting. That was the message of the movie, I think. That it is the love that exists between people that makes the earth so beautiful not its own beauty. Like Celine said, it is the magic in the space between her and Jesse that was so special. We are mesmerized by the beauty of Vienna only when we have someone to share with, in this case Jesse and Celine. Without them, it is just a place.

Another thing that made this movie so special and easy in nature despite is high philosophy was that for every ideology put forth by Jesse or Celine they gave a real life example to prove it. The philosophy was made relatable by bestowing the ideology into the lives of various characters. Sandra Adair is one of my favourite editors and this is why. You are watching a 110 minutes movie and still after watching it you feel as tired as if you were roaming around Vienna with Jesse and Celine. It never feels that we missed out one something, which has always been a problem with movies with a short running time.

The only thing that troubled me about the movie was it almost nil use of score. But, I think it was done purposely so that the audience don’t have any sort of distractions or experience inaudibility while listening to this conversation.

Before Sunrise is thoughtful, witty and unconventional in its nature. The lead performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are mesmerizing and the way the various ideologies are presented and debated upon are so lively that we don’t mind watching two souls wander in Vienna and just …..talk. This Richard Linklater classic is undoubtedly one of the greatest celebrations of love ever captured on screen and is a must watch.

Rating : 9.5 / 10

THANKS FOR READING. IF YOU HAVE LIKED/HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS / HAVE ANY  DOUBTS, PLEASE SHARE. I WILL RESPOND TO IT AS SOON AS I CAN. AND PLEASE SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE. YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE TOO https://www.facebook.com/pages/Demanded-Critical-Reviews/1565666967024477?ref=hl YOU CAN ALSO E-MAIL ME ON castlebang786@gmail.com OR favebook2011@rediffmail.com

Photo Rights : Google Images, Wikipedia

Copyright : All written content on this site, unless otherwise noted, has been created by the website owner. As such, the content is the property of the website owner. This content is protected by Indian and international copyright laws. If you wish to reproduce, re-post, or display any of our content on your own site please only do so if you also provide a link back to the source page on this website and properly attribute authorship. Our preference is that you seek our permission before doing so. If you see anything on this website that has not been properly attributed to its originator please contact me. In response, I will attempt to correct the attribution of the offending material or remove and/or replace it. All material on this website is posted in accordance with the limitations set forward by the Information Technology Act, 2000. If a documented copyright owner so requests, their material will be removed from published display, although the author reserves the right to provide linkage to that material or to a source for that material. As a website devoted to discussing and reviewing movies and television I will at times, for illustrative purposes, present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always be specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available  for purposes such as criticism, comment, and research. The website owner believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material because the articles published on this website are distributed for entertainment purposes.