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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Whiplash [Blu-ray]


(Damien Chazelle, 2014)





Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Blumhouse Productions

Video: Sony Pictures



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:45.399

Disc Size: 41,086,552,256 bytes

Feature Size: 28,571,768,832 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.89 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 24th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2187 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2187 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Audio Descriptive Services:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2210 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2210 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 2181 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2181 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)


English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none



• Commentary with J. K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle

Timekeepers (42:56)

Whiplash Original Short Film with optional commentary (17:56)

• Fletcher at Home with optional commentary (1:31)

• An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival with Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle (7:50)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:10)







Description: A talented young jazz drummer experiences a trial by fire when he's recruited by a ferocious instructor whose unyielding search for perfection may lead to his undoing. For as far back as Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) can remember, he's been watching his father fail. Determined to make a name for himself no matter what it takes, Andrew enrolls in a prestigious east coast music conservatory where his talent quickly catches the attention of Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) a esteemed music teacher who's notorious for his caustic approach in the classroom. The leader of the school's top jazz ensemble, Fletcher promptly transfers Neyman into his band, giving the ambitious young drummer a shot at true greatness. He may achieve it, too, if Neyman's methods don't drive him to madness first.



The Film:

Damien Chazelle's Whiplash ends, as all things should, with a drum solo, a furious yet precise assault of clattering cymbals and skins enacted by Miles Teller's Andrew Neyman, a prodigious drumming student at the fictitious Shaffer Conservatory of Music in midtown Manhattan. It's the percussionist's final parry in his duel with Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a sadistic conductor and senior-level instructor at the school. As Neyman's solo grows more complex and immense, the studied technique that he's spent the entirety of the film trying to hone breaks out into wild, exacting ambition, an exhilarating final movement in a film deeply concerned with the limitations of control, and how that influences the measure of mastery.

Excerpt from Slant magazine located HERE


A jazz-drumming prodigy is working hard at his double-time swing when his drill-sergeant conductor-instructor heaves a chair at his head. Almost hits him.

Just another day at Full Metal Juilliard.

Whiplash is an intense, unmelodious, highly amped and probably unrealistic drama set in the fictionalized Schaefer Conservatory in New York. The talented Miles Teller is the 19-year-old protagonist Andrew Neiman, a fiend for flashy Buddy Rich drumming and single-minded in his pursuit to be the best in his field. A romantic believer in Bryan Adams-level dedication, he plays until his fingers bleed.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE


The world worships excellence and runs on mediocrity. Most of us are fated to dwell in the fat middle of the bell curve, admiring and envying those who stake out territory in the higher realms of achievement. There is a wide gulf between doing your best at something and being the best at it, a discrepancy in expended effort and anticipated reward that is the subject of “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle’s thrilling second feature.

This story of an ambitious young striver and his difficult mentor could easily have been a sports movie, and structurally, it resembles one. There are montages of grueling practice scattered among scenes of tense competition, all of it building toward a hugely suspenseful (but also, to some extent, never in doubt) championship game moment of reckoning. But Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is a jazz drummer rather than an athlete, enrolled at a highly selective Manhattan school (Juilliard in all but name) and under the sway of a charismatic and terrifying instructor, Fletcher (J. K. Simmons).

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Whiplash was shot on HD and looks pristine on Blu-ray from Sony. It is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate but I'm sure it can't look any better and is a very strong replication of its theatrical appearance.  Sharone Meir's stylish cinematography looks impressive with a high level of detail and no noise in the many darker sequences.  Some of the weaknesses of HD exist with a bit of blur/softness in motion. Generally though, I can't imagine it looking significantly better than this. The 1080P looked great on my system.



















Audio :

Sony go with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 2187 kbps. It sounds magnificent - often as if the instruments are live in your home theatre. Piano, bass and drums give off perfect resonance with pristine tightness and cascading depth. The film's score is credited to Justin Hurwitz but there are a few pieces by Tim Simonec with some more notable works written by the likes of Buddy Rich, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz used in the film. The music is amazing - notable is the rendition of the hypnotic rhythms of Caravan. Crank it. Worth the price of the disc alone. There is a 'Descriptive Audio' track available and some foreign-language DUBs. There are optional subtitles available. My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc.


Extras :

Sony load the package with extras - starting with a revealing commentary with J. K. Simmons and director/writer Damien Chazelle discussing many levels of the production. Timekeepers is a 3/4 of an hour video piece featuring famous drummers (Chad Smith of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Simon Phillips and others) discussing their craft and passion for drumming. We get the original short (18-minute) treatise of Whiplash with optional commentary as well as a brief piece entitled Fletcher at Home deleted scene, running only 1.5 minutes, also with optional commentary. An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival shares 7-minutes with Miles Teller, J. K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle on stage at TIFF. There is a theatrical trailer and some previews.



Wow - Whiplash is intense. Awesome. Beautiful. This Blu-ray is a keeper and some of the music worthy of putting on when friends come over! I dare anyone not to be mesmerized by certain parts of this film. One of the best things I have seen, and heard, in the past few years. THAT - is our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

February 13th, 2015





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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