Whiplash ★★★★★

Owen's Top 50 Watch #5

“Not quite my tempo.”

Damien Chazelle is one of the hardest directors to rank the filmography of, mainly because each of his films are special in their own way. Whiplash is arguably his most nerve-wracking endeavor, packing a powerful punch with the help of its viscerally brutal imagery, haunting in its uncompromising depiction of a spiral into madness as a result of an unflinchingly abusive mentor. The cinematography paints a memorable picture, searingly bleak and gritty in its own right but even more hard to watch when paired with the iconic image of blood on the drums, a fist slowly pushing its way into a pitcher of ice water. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are electric here, constantly bouncing off of each other with ferocious realism in their portrayals. Even with this feature, Chazelle is carefully refined and doesn't allow sentiment to take hold of the resolute ambitiousness of this piece. A masterwork in tension and groundbreaking suspense.