Wednesday, 28 January 2015


It's what you don't play that matters

 Saw Whiplash yesterday. Most foul-mouthed film I think I have ever seen, and that is a flaw, not as so many critics think, ‘great writing’. I once attended an Irish swearing competition and this comes close.
It is well acted and edited, no disputing that but gets lost several times by back-of-a- fag-packet attempts at drama and conflict; the car-crash scene for one, I would have come up with something much less melodramatic and the, ‘I’m gonna keep you up to midnight until you get it’ scene, again, just over-the-top. Watch Wolf Hall, currently running on BBC to see how it can be done. And the episode where he dumps Melissa Benoist? Sorry. If you want great contemporary relationship reversals, try Olive Kitteridge. Or even, possibly, the Danish TV drama, The Legacy. It is way overstating Neyman’s single-mindedness; it is just immaturity. The end didn’t work for me either: the coincidence of him walking past the club where Simmons was gigging and then Simmons thinking that through and building upon that coincidence to get him up on stage at such an important concert. More back-of-a-fag-packet writing; basically it’s an actors/directors film, not a writers movie at all.
Lastly, and it doesn’t much matter because it isn’t actually a film about jazz, Buddy Rich was a show-off and a boor. It would have been so much more authentic if Simmons had been citing Art Blakey or Tony Williams and Nyman’s hero had been Tyshawn Sorey.   

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