Rating: 8/10 (Actually a good movie)
Andrew (Miles Teller) is a mild mannered music student with dreams of becoming the best drummer that ever lived. Attending a prestigious music school he is tutored by the relentlessly cruel Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) who will stop at nothing in an attempt to get the best from his students
Rated R because Simmons is a real potty mouth. Think R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket only scary.
Andrew Neimann (Teller) is a young music student with dreams of becoming a jazz drumming legend. He attends the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory – a fictional music school in New York which I assume is loosely modeled on Julliard. Hard working and dedicated to his art, Andrew is quickly spotted by Terence Fletcher (Simmons), one of the school’s most respected professors, as having potential and is drafted into Fletcher’s Studio band as a secondary drummer.
All is rosy for the young up and comer, but that’s where the Disney movie ends and we’re dumped into a Scandinavian thriller as Fletcher turns out to be a ruthless dictator, using emotional and physical abuse to break down the young musicians in an attempt to get the best performance.
With practice and rehearsals to the fore, Andrew’s personal relationships are put on the line in an attempt to appease the controlling tutor and become the legend he so aspires to be.
Will Andrew become the next Buddy Rich before he succumbs to the stress and goes postal? Will I ever look at Juno’s dad in the same way ever again? Is it now the drummer’s time to get the spot light and overtake the showy guitarist? Dream on lads!
- Simmons is excellent – well deserving of the Oscar
- Teller is good as the mild mannered yet incredibly ambitious youngster
- Drum solo at the end dragged a bit (sorry jazz heads)
- Not enough Jazz hands – how can you have a jazz movie with no Jazz hands?? poor form
How can the words “mm, not my tempo” be so scary? I can sit through movies like Insidious 10 (or whatever they’re on now) and my heart rate won’t go above 90, but those words are giving me nightmares. J.K. Simmons is excellent, an actor that seems destined to play supporting roles all his career but this movie really showed his range and how he could pull you in all nice and smiles just to land a sucker punch to the gut. If now isn’t the time for a strong leading role I don’t know when is. Each line is delivered perfectly with an equal amount of cruelty and comedic timing – yes I laughed at a lot of his insults, I’m a bad person.
In counter point, Miles Teller plays the innocent and naive punching bag perfectly – willing to sacrifice all to please his abuser and improve himself to the extent where his character becomes less and less likable as the story progresses. Yet all this is done gradually, with no sudden change in character to leave us wondering what happened. All in all it’s an excellently told story with a very important lesson for us all to learn: Don’t let your kids go to music school!! 8/10