What a perfect way to kick-off the festival. (No, I'm not taking about The Judge.)
Whiplash was the first film I actually saw this year, since it played for the press as part of Thursday's programming of previously premiered films. And, wow, did it ever live up to the Sundance hype.
Miles Teller gives a career-defining performance as an aspiring concert drummer. On top of his own ridiculous musical talents, which simply can't be faked, he manages to endear us with the same laser focus as writer/director Damien Chazelle, who has crafted a film that demonstrates a wisdom beyond his relatively young 29 years. As one might expect in a film about jazz rhythm, the pace is wonderfully unpredictable; the big moments are somehow expected and surprising, and the ending is a white-knuckle marvel. A must-see for every aspiring musician and fan of small, marvellous films.