As aspiration turns into goal, goal turns into passion, and then passion into single-minded unrelenting devotion, it starts becoming more and more difficult to get a sense of what's going around you to the point that your aspiration-turned-goal-turned-passion-turned-devotion becomes your life. Whiplash is about that passion, that untiring zeal, to which you lose yourself so much that everything else ceases to matter. Is it okay to be so madly passionate about your dream ? What are the consequences of that, if you are ? And what if, your ambitions are unconventional and don't align with what the society thinks as worthwhile ? In a great dinner table scene, Andrew's cousins are praised, while he is ignored, just because their successes, even if mediocre, were in the fields that were deemed to be conventional while his own success was either not recognized or deemed to be not worth the risk; clearly showing that if you want to get to the top in a field that most people don't care about, you may have no one to prove to, except yourself, since others would hardly recognize your achievements, unless of course, you reach the top. It's a difficult balance to strike, and a very challenging path to tread, as Andrew realizes this the hard way, when at one point of time he nearly losses everything: his girlfriend, his life, and even his dream because of his blind devotion to what he wants to become.
Whiplash follows a narrative that you usually get to see in sports based dramas: an underdog, a tough task-master, a rousing competition, and ultimately the big climactic pay-off. That doesn't mean Whiplash, a story of drummer, provides less fireworks than a sports-based drama does; if anything, it's more adrenaline-inducing than most of the sports-based movie I have seen.
Whiplash was a surprise. A real surprise. I expected it to be good, but didn't expect it to be blow me away the way it did. In fact, for people with conventional tastes, this might be the best movie you will see all year.