Whiplash (2013)

Note: This is reviewing the 2013 short film, not the much more famous 2014 full-length feature film.

It’s always interesting looking at short films that later had big successful feature films made from them. Rather than compress the entire story of what would become 2014’s “Whiplash” down, here director Damien Chazelle basically just shoots one extended twenty-minute scene.

It’s a brilliant, iconic scene at this point, and it’s easy to see why he had much more luck with securing funding after creating this demonstration of what a full “Whiplash” motion picture could become.


The performances aren’t as good (well, J. K. Simmons’ nearly is, but the actors that were replaced in the full film here are less skilled than their later counterparts), the editing isn’t as tight, and the whole affair is more amateur, as you’d expect with the much smaller budget. Still, it’s amazing how much Chazelle’s skills sharpened up from “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench”, to this, to 2014’s “Whiplash”. Truly impressive.

It’s more a single scene plucked out of a at-the-time-unproduced script than a cohesive short film in its own right, but what’s here is still so fantastic that it’s a thrill to watch. I give it three and a half drumsticks, and a thrown cymbal.


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