Directed by Damien Chazelle

Left to right: Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

This is a wonderful film about the nature of passion versus perfection and those who possess the former and obsessively live in the race for the latter. Miles Teller, as our protagonist, is both cute and terrifying in his pursuit of jazz drumming greatness. JK Simmons is a force of nature as the antagonistic (and sadistic) teacher/band-leader/drill sergeant. While there are some flaws in the overall story (I’m guessing a second act scene – or two – ended up on the editor’s floor), the ferocity, tension and artistry of the performances makes this one of the easier films to recommend this year. If for no other reason, go see Simmons.

Trailer here.

Originally reviewed on 12/2/2014

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