I watched “Whiplash” at the company late in the late afternoon of 2016. I saw in this movie the intensity and determination of Andrew, the fierceness of Mr. Fletcher. Throughout this 106-minutes, Andrew’s sweat and blood, the screams and fierce glare of Mr. Fletcher. A film that opens with a drumbeat and ends with drumbeats. That drum was Andrew’s passion for aspirations, dreams of greatness, and endless efforts.
Andrew, a freshman at the Conservatory, has the desire to become the second Buddy Rich in music history. Playing a jazz drum, Andrew set his own definition of greatness. It would rather die at the age of 34 in addiction like Charlie Parker but many years later are mentioned by others, rather than live in comfort until 90 years of age but forgotten. The story of Andrew’s drum beats, passion, desire to win, win and become great began when he was picked up by Fletcher to practice in the band.
With no natural talent and a sense of humor, Andrew set himself up very high in practice. The only way to perfect myself is to practice and be willing to trade everything for the cause of music. Even if you are exhausted or your hands are bloody because you hold the drumstick for too long. Audiences will never forget Andrew’s efforts to keep himself locked up in a room full of sweat, bloody drumbeats, a bucket of ice to relieve pain and a bandage nearby. Andrew brings in his strength, his strong will to fight. He actively divorces his lover for not having much time for her. More importantly, she will stop him on the chosen path. Even in a car accident, Andrew tried to crawl out of the car and flew to the prestigious music competition, despite his health and appearance at the time.
Andrew’s relatives could not understand him. Why can you give up all for jazz, because of the drum beat that throws itself into the harshest hours of training, enduring bad language and even physical pain? These efforts are only seen by Fletcher. Fletcher felt passionate fire from Andrew, the desire to win and conquer. Fletcher himself is an extremely complex person. If he encouraged, comforted and inquired only moments ago, he suddenly became a real hero. Strictness and rigor are fundamental to any teacher or trainer. But in Fletcher is also the harsh, brutal in every sentence, every gesture. Excerpted as a talented artist, honoring perfection in jazz, Fletcher wore a lifeless face but with fierce eyes, a ferocious voice, and heavy swearing through the film. He always made the audience feel the thrill of the hand holding the rhythm and jerking for the sentences to scold Andrew and other students.
In front of a strict Fletcher teacher and Andrew’s rehab efforts, the audience can not help but sympathize and share with him. Journey to find greatness without roses. On that path, the artist himself would have to trade a lot of things. It is a cruel journey, full of cruelty, greed, sweat, tears and blood. Then the jazz songs are up, those jazz artists, they will devote to the music until the same strength as tomorrow they will die. They may not live a full life, but they have lived their full lives – a life full of sacrifices but always overwhelmed with passion and desire.