A really terrific little movie opens next week: Whiplash, about a young drumming prodigy’s fractious relationship with his terrifyingly perfectionist mentor, which although made in 19 days on a budget of $3 million is attracting Oscar buzz. I was commissioned by the Guardian to write four different pieces on the film, which is especially close to my heart as my son is an ace drummer himself (check out his band Venus Envy on Soundcloud).
Whiplash’s young writer-director had lofty goals, setting out to do for drumming what Martin Scorsese once did for boxing. But in many ways it’s less like Raging Bull than like Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam masterpiece: producer Jason Reitman describes the film as “Full Metal Jacket set in Juilliard”.
Check out my Guardian pieces, which came out today:
— Why Whiplash is not just about drumming, but a psychological thriller, sports/war movie and mismatched buddy movie all in one. Discover the “Dead Poets Society from hell”.
— How do you make an Oscar-worthy feature in just 19 days? Despite cracked ribs and a car crash, this is how Damien Chazelle got it done.
— Both lead actors in Whiplash underwent an extraordinary transformation for their roles. From Lon Chaney Jr to Holly Hunter and Daniel Day-Lewis, discover the ten biggest transformations in film history.
— Einstein himself said that “genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work”. From Isambard Kingdom Brunel to Marie Curie, here are ten great men and women who owe as much to perspiration as inspiration.