Todd McCarthy, THR:
“Anyone who’s ever had a high school or college teacher make it a point to manipulate or mess with students’ lives will no doubt have relatable, and possibly painful, memories revived by this vivid portrait of a music school at which the program, run by its star instructor, closely resembles the boot camp presided over by R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket…
Teller, who greatly impressed in last year’s Sundance entry The Spectacular Now, does so again in a performance that is more often simmering than volatile. However, one misses any scene in which Andrew and the other guys might sit around talking about their tormenting teacher, sharing their misery and speculating as to what the hell made him act like this.
For his part, Simmons has the great good fortune for a character actor to have here found a co-lead part he can really run with, which is what he excitingly does with a man who is profane, way out of bounds and, like many a good villain, utterly compelling.”