What breaks? Well if Fletcher is to be believed, ‘nothing’. Nothing can break an artist from becoming more. There are no lines, there are no limits. ‘Good Job’ is false advertising, there’s plenty more where that came from. Potential is screwed if contentment takes house, so screw contentment. Play hard, take pain, sacrifice anything that doesn’t add. That’s what makes. Who bought that? Well, Neimann did.
I do like this movie. The end is ecstatic. It is gripping in a way that makes me a believer of Fletcher’s teaching methodology, like he is responsible, like Niemann’s talent would have gone in wane if wasn’t for Fletcher’s insistence on pushing the envelope. It’s almost like ‘end justifies means’. Although, this part I don’t agree with.
It is hard to digest that such inconsiderate behavior would be tolerated in one of the premier institutes of the country. It is also maddening of Fletcher to push every one of his students beyond their threshold in search of the next Charlie Parker. His intentions are understandable but its the method he employs that bothers me. Definitely should not be teacher. But if Neimann is the student, the relationship kinda sticks. For the specifics of this dynamic, Fletcher is the necessary evil. Might as well believe it given the whole movie is skewed towards it.
In the first scene itself, Fletcher is established as a top dog, and Niemann knows. If it weren’t for his incessant quest for validation, the master would have had little effect. Their relationship works because they yearn for the same, excellence. Andrew Niemann wants to be remembered, be the greatest musician and Fletcher embodies an understanding of what that entails. He is so fixated on his goal that Fletcher’s tantrums, be it hurling insults, personal and racist, do not deter him away. His devotion was almost believable until he gave up on drumming after expulsion. It kind of reinforces the master’s role in his quest. The elation at the end is only matched by Niemann’s smile after Fletcher’s endorsement, a nod, the only proof he ever desired to affirm that he has made it.
J. K. Simmons does a terrific job. His dialogues are a treat, no matter how vile, they are spot on. The alpha male portrayal of his is strengthened by one sided repartee. Miles Teller is at his best here. His earlier roles have been on lighter note but he did not seem out of place here, totally owned it. This is a terrific piece of work by Damien Chazelle. It is not about Jazz. I am too inept to understand anyways. It is about what it takes to reach the pinnacle of this nasty business as they say. Its brutal and its not for everybody. The end I cannot forget, you’d have to see for yourself to feel the energy. I kinda like caravan better. Totally my tempo. Good Job.