Whiplash’s Ending: A Tragic Lesson or a Triumphant Quest for Greatness?
Whiplash is a masterfully crafted and compelling music drama that employs the structure of a sports movie to keep the viewer engaged and on edge the entire time.
The protagonist of Damien Chazelle’s film Whiplash is aspiring drummer Andrew Neiman. He is a gifted and aspirational jazz drummer who wants to become successful. He’s willing to take a chance on it all, but Terence Fletcher, his crazed and violent teacher, will push him to the limit in order to get there.
What happens After Andrew Quits Shaffer?
The path Andrew is on is not for the weak of his heart. Neiman leaves the esteemed Shaffer Conservatory after being verbally and physically tortured by Fletcher and seeks to rebuild his life. He broke up with his ex-girlfriend early in the film, but she has since moved on.
Since Andrew doesn’t have any friends and his family never thought he had what it takes to become famous, they don’t really get him. As a last-ditch effort to protect others at Shaffer, Andrew gives false testimony against Terence Fletcher, leading to the man’s dismissal from his position and ensuring that he never again uses abusive ways to harm others.
What Convinces Andrew to Play for Fletcher Again?
Neiman runs into Fletcher once more as the movie enters its crucial final act; ironically, Fletcher is currently giving a performance at a jazz club. Fletcher says there are no two words more harmful than “good job” while they sit and drink together. He argues that as a teacher, it was always his responsibility to push his students to the brink of anguish in order to reach the other side, which holds the secret to greatness.
Fletcher had long wanted to discover his own Charlie Parker, a gifted jazz musician who is featured throughout the movie. Later, more about him! Whatever the case, Fletcher exerted every effort to realize his ambition but was never successful. Neiman is moved by his remarks and begins to change his mind.
Fletcher invites Andrew to perform at a prominent jazz concert he is organizing because he is aware of this as well. He says indifferently that they are jamming out to some of his old favorites and that it’s no big deal.
The most powerful men and women in the jazz world are present, and this is the first warning sign. Andrew eagerly dons his costume and makes his way up onto the stage. They may help Neiman gain access to opportunities and propel him into the spotlight. Similar to how one mistake could condemn him to infamy for all time.
What Happens During the Final Performance?
Fletcher sneers at Andrew just before the opening song and admits his treason, informing Andrew that he knows it was him that exposed him and got him fired from Shaffer. He displays a completely different music sheet to everyone else because he is determined to exact retribution. Although Andrew tries his hardest with what he has, the band is absolutely destroyed by Andrew’s rhythm.
Father is there to comfort Andrew as he hurries off the stage. But just then, Andrew decides to change his mind and seize this chance before it’s lost for good.
When Andrew comes back on stage, he interrupts Fletcher and starts playing Caravan, a tune that emphasizes the drummer as its essential element. He personally directs the band as they gently whirl Fletcher around for eight breathless minutes.
The audience is astounded by Andrew’s performance as is Fletcher, who starts to back him and his solo. Even when a cymbal drops to the floor, Fletcher picks it up and nods in satisfaction at having seemingly identified the student who will soon break through.
Fletcher and Andrew exchange glances during the brief pause before the last drum solo. As a wave of recognition passes over them, the camera pans in. That’s it. The time has come.
As Andrew impresses Fletcher and establishes himself as the superstar he always was, they both smile. But as a brief scene with his father present, stunned and wide-eyed, attests, how much of a price has Andrew paid for this success?
What Does the Scene with Andrew S Father Mean?
The conclusion of Whiplash is enigmatic and has two possible interpretations. The scene involving Andrew’s father is the first to be examined. When he sees how far his kid is prepared to go to defend himself in front of an abusive instructor who has shown himself to be a master manipulator and wholly out of the ordinary, his expression could be read as one of terror.
This brief example illustrates the negative effects of pushing oneself too far; Andrew’s determination to play the drums despite being injured in a car accident earlier in the film is a reflection of this.
It’s also really terrible since it demonstrates how twisted Andrew’s mentality has grown. Despite everything he’s been through, he’s still working to win over Fletcher. The expression on Andrew’s father’s face echoes the prior sentiment of his son rising to greatness; it is one of astonishment and stunned fear. After first dismissing his son’s drumming as a hobby and never considering it to be a viable professional choice, he now recognizes his son’s aptitude.
The Parallels with Charlie Parker
Whiplash deftly predicts some of the events that will occur after the movie is over. Yes, Andrew performs Caravan admirably and demonstrates his extraordinary talent to everyone. But in the end, Fletcher wins since he now gets to claim the honor of inventing his own Charlie Parker.
For those who don’t know, Charlie Parker had mental health issues, was dependent on narcotics, and by the time of his death, when he was just 34 years old, his body had nearly doubled that age.
Since Andrew is prepared to sacrifice everything for his music, his path might be compared to this tale of high-speed life. Because Andrew is ready to put himself through real hell to get there, it is nearly guaranteed that he will experience mental health issues, as shown by his prior outburst in which he punched through his drum set.
Andrew has always felt distant from his parents, despite the fact that they could financially support him. Every discussion about music is viewed with contempt and disgust rather than with true enthusiasm. Despite the happy ending with his father, it’s highly possible that Andrew Neiman would end up being a loner because they can’t relate to him on a personal level or understand his hardships.
The fact that Parker isn’t even the greatest musician of the 20th century raises even more troubling questions about the impossibility of greatness and how transitory fantasies of it actually are.
Is the Ending of Whiplash a Triumph or Tragedy?
This is a fantastic question that will be open to many different interpretations. The conclusion is both, in fact. On the one hand, Andrew has disproved everyone who doubted him. After overcoming obstacles, he was able to wow some of the most powerful men and women in the industry with an incredible performance. He’ll likely succeed, and doors will open.
However, Andrew’s terrible situation has left its wounds. Is it worthwhile to achieve fame and fortune? Whiplash’s ending is all the more devastating because Chazelle uses the idea that the only way to achieve your dreams is to do whatever it takes and turns it against the audience by weaving a cautionary tale about the fine line between brilliance and madness.