Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 20th February, 2015
Time : 107 minutes
Director, Writer : Damien Chazelle; Music : Justin Hurwitz
Starring : JK Simmons, Miles Teller, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Nate Lang, Austin Stowell
Has the world become too soft ?
Do we recognize anymore the effort, the hours, the passion that it takes to truly master a discipline, much less produce works of unbridled genius ?
Are we really prepared for the blood, sweat, tears that usually accompany such a journey ? Especially in the world of social media, political correctness, education becoming more a business, over-anxious parents and molly-coddled children, are we really even trying to produce geniuses ?
JK Simmons doesn’t have any of these doubts. He’s the renowned head of the famous Schaeffer Music School, New York. And he’s only in it to produce top musicians, using any and all means at his disposal –including the most awful physical and mental abuse you’re likely to see from a guru
Miles Teller is a drummer, enrolled in the music conservatory. Is from a middling background, product of a broken marriage, has a caring father, not many friends. He fancies himself as a musician. And is spotted, picked up by JK to be a part of the main ensemble.
Nothing prepares you for what follows. Simmons is the kind who preys on his students weaknesses. He pretends to be interested in a student, only to be able to use personal information to abuse you violently. And he relentlessly pushes, drives you to perform, excel…
Nothing has prepared Miles for this. He’s changing as a person. Redefining his relationships – including his loving dad (Paul Reiser) and a recent girlfriend (Melissa). He fancies his chances, even though the competition is intense and he is, at least in the beginning, only the understudy to the main drummer…
So begins almost a game of cat and mouse between the student and teacher. Its gripping. Miles evolves in ways we wouldn’t expect. The story takes a course we definitely don’t anticipate. And we are hooked, right all the way to the astonishing climax. Simmons and Teller are excellent in their roles, believable, epitomizing their parts to the point you can scarcely believe them to be anyone else. And the music, mostly jazz, is great too…
Like the luscious swirls of a bitter-sweet dark chocolate with a mysterious twist… you’re going to need to taste it to figure out if it works for you.. and, as most creative artists would prefer with their work, you’re going to either love it or hate it…