“Whiplash”: Obsession, betrayal and all that jazz


“Whiplash” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:46, four stars out of four.

“Whiplash” begins with a blank screen and the sound of a single snare drum beat, starting slowly and building to almost unbearable speed and intensity. It’s a sound that mirrors what its main character goes through, pushed harder and harder and faster and faster until you’re sure he’ll break.

And it mirrors what the audience goes through in this daring, brilliant, exhausting film. I felt wiped out and exhilarated at the end of Damien Chazelle’s second feature, a drama that plays on your nerves like a thriller.

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