Andrew Neyman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. He practises day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability and his sanity.
The film raises all sorts of questions about what sort of behaviour is justified in a teacher to try to bring out the genius in a pupil and, in this particular case, who of the two protagonists locked in this unhealthy relationship is the most crazy. It ends with an outstanding 15 minute drum sole, something perhaps never seen in the movies before.
J K Simmons (above, as the jazz teacher, Fletcher) won the Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the film has won awards, including Oscars, for its editing and sound.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall