Whisky (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Alice Castle

Starring: Andrés Pazos, Mirella Pascual, Jorge Bolami, Ana Katz, Daniel Hendler

Directors: Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll

Charming, bittersweet WHISKY is a beautifully acted story about loneliness in Montevideo, Uruguay. Jakobo (Andres Pazos) is a sour-faced, middle-aged man who runs a tired old factory in a run-down part of town which churns out ugly, brown acrylic socks. One day begins like the next; morning starts with the arrival of Jakobo’s faithful assistant Marta (Mirella Pascual), whose rhythms are so familiar to her employer barely a word needs to pass between them. Even the young, chatty factory workers fail to make life more interesting for Jakobo and Marta, who both live alone. There is no sign that Jakobo has ever had any female companionship of his own, since his mother died a year ago.

Routine is broken, when news arrives that Jakobo’s successful younger brother – and trendy multi-coloured sock producer – Hermann (Jorge Bolani) is arriving from Brazil. In a bitter stab of pain that is sibling rivalry, Jakobo clumsily asks Martha if she’ll pretend to be his wife for a few days so that his brother won’t think he’s a complete social failure. Whisky, (which is the Uruguayan equivalent of ‘Say Cheese’) describes the staged photo they have made for the family mantlepiece before Hermann’s arrival.

Once brother Hermann arrives, an interesting love-triangle emerges between the three characters, culminating

in a tense mini-break where previously tethered emotions finally bubble to the surface. Filmmakers Stoll and Rebella, whose previous film 25 WATTS has been compared to Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s work puts Uruguay on the filmmaking map.

6 out of 6 stars