It is indeed, as a poster claims, a “groove,” a “duel” and a “revelation” and certainly one of the best movies I saw from 2014. “Whiplash” is a tense and surprising “overcoming obstacles” story that provides enough twists to keep you eager for more.
The world of jazz students in their 20s attending a demanding academy feels claustrophobic; there is little else to occupy the story. But it is this focus and intimacy in the film that makes it work so well.
I love it when storytellers know when to stop augmenting and allow a narrative to stand alone! (If more of us preachers knew this sermons would be shorter and more memorable). This is a more disciplined small “film” than standard Hollywood “entertainment.” Thankfully.