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When I first saw a clip from the Miles Teller/J.K. Simmons film Whiplash, I thought it would be a dramatic film with light comedic highlights. Out of context, that scene seemed like a fun little moment that could liven up what was being described as "Full Metal Jacket at Julliard." It's not that hard of a stretch, as both actors have shown proficiency with the comedic arts, but they've also handled some of the much heavier stuff. We now have the first trailer for Whiplash, and I'm pleased to say that I was wrong. This film is made of some of that much heavier stuff, and it looks so much more intriguing because of it.
Yahoo premiered the Whiplash trailer, which tells the story of Andrew Nyman – a young jazz drummer who wants to be "one of the greats." To get to that point, he's going to have to practice at playing both the drums and his instructor's nerve to the right tune. Simple enough story, isn't it? That's not the story the trailer seems to focus on. In fact, it seems to focus more on the fall out of his intense sessions with his mentor, which looks like it leads to everything from an increase in anger to him even trying to break up with his girlfriend.
That's not to say that Whiplash will be devoid of heart or redemption. In fact, there's a moment that looks like Miles Teller is crying for a happy or sentimental reason, and there's assuredly going to be a moment where he and movie dad Paul Reiser have a moment. Those emotional highlights don't look like they're sprinkled in cheaply though, as this looks like a dark descent into madness, resulting in a lesson of the price one has to pay to become "one of the greats."
Whiplash itself looks like it could be one of the greats itself, as it's generated a crazy amount of festival buzz earlier this year and is looking to raise its profile even more at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw this flick make it into the awards race this year, as it's bound to, at the very least, earn some acting nods for both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons at smaller awards shows like The Independent Spirit Awards, with an outside chance of writing recognition and a dark horse best picture bid at the Academy Awards. In a year that's been really good to independent films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and most recently A Most Wanted Man, Whiplash looks like it'll be a hell of a hit come this fall.
Whiplash bangs its drum October 10th in limited release.