The Sundance Film Festival, held yearly in Park City, Utah, isn't a place where you get much consensus. People love and hate films to wild degrees, with few critics actually agreeing on a film that undisputedly won them over. But this year, everybody seemed to adore "Whiplash." The film, which stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, went on to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance, played at Cannes and will head into the fall with two prominent festival slots at the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival. Our exclusive poster (below) hammers that point home -- this is a movie that people loved and you definitely need to see.
Instead of the typical "floating head" poster or one with a lot of negative space, the poster is composed of big, bold text from critics reviews, everyone from the New York Daily News to Grantland to Entertainment Weekly. "Exhilarating," "Astounding," and "Extraordinary" are not words that are thrown around too often about films; the fact that they are all being directed at the same film is sort of miraculous.
While the poster doesn't hint at what the plot for the film is and doesn't even feature Simmons (a longtime confederate of Sam Raimi and Jason Reitman), it does, towards the bottom, show Miles Teller, his tie loosely slung around his neck, playing the drums. Which is what "Whiplash" is all about: him attempting to become an ace drummer under the supervision of a harsh, bad instructor (that'd be Simmons). So, you know what you need to know.
Sony Pictures Classics will be releasing the film, written and directed by Damien Chazelle (who also wrote Elijah Wood's "Grand Piano," easily one of this year's most dizzyingly fun genre confections), on October 10th. And who knows? Maybe "Whiplash" will be one of those rare films that channels all of that effusive festival into Oscar gold.