David Edelstein reviews Whiplash:
"Whiplash charts the education—and torture—of ambitious young drummer Andrew Neiman, played by Miles Teller. The inflicter of pain is a teacher, Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons; Fletcher conducts the elite jazz band at the Manhattan conservatory where Andrew is a student. Film has a long dishonor role of sadistic authority figures, but few of them get as much of a charge as Fletcher out of messing with pupil’s heads, even driving them from the school in tears. Writer-director Damien Chazelle, has you wondering two things at once. Will Andrew succeed in wowing this most exacting of all judges? And, more important: What can be gained by doing so when the teacher is manifestly psychotic?
There’s also a larger question: Does the director finally vindicate Fletcher’s methods, suggesting that only a harsh taskmaster can spur an artist like Andrew to the next level?
Before I try to answer, let me say I love this movie. The title is dead on. Whiplash twists you into knots. The fear of failure is omnipresent, but so—somehow—is the jazz vibe.”