Directed by: Juan Pablo Rebella, Pablo Stoll | 99 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Andrés Pazos, Mirella Pascual, Jorge Bolani, Ana Katz, Daniel Hendler, Verónica Perrotta, Mariana Velazques, Dumasearna, Damián Barrera, Alfonso Tort, Francisca Barreira
In fact, everything in “Whiskey” exudes faded glory. Two people so stuck in their daily routine that it is (literally) difficult to tell one moment from another (even for the viewer), an old-fashioned filthy factory, a once luxurious hotel, an apartment in a state of disrepair, a car that no longer wants to start.
Set against this background is the story of Jacobo, a grumpy old man who spends his days in the socks factory that his family has had for years. Jacobo is single, but when his long-lost brother comes to visit he decides to ask one of his employees (Marta) to play his wife for a few days, so as not to be too embarrassed. Marta, in turn, is an introverted shy woman who has little zest for life, just like Jacobo.
It’s hard to imagine, but what sounds like a tragic drama during the film turns into a comedy that is as touching as it is hilarious, without losing its sad undertone. The film is somewhere between “The Straight Story” (1999) and “Sideways” (2004). Quieter than “Sideways” and more humorous than “The Straight Story”.
The Uruguayan director duo Juan Pablo Rebella and his partner Pablo Stoll, who previously received a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival for their film “25 Watts” (2001), opted for a minimal amount of text this time. Every word seems carefully chosen and every silence especially. In addition, with creative shots they manage to give an extra dimension to the already characteristic heads of the actors. These have been cast excellently and play their roles superbly, with the scene explaining the title: where Americans say cheese! would shout, they shout “Whiskey!” in Uruguay. This is also the case when the two loners decide to have themselves recorded in a so-called wedding portrait. It shows how double and subtle the film is, because the scene is both the saddest and the funniest part of the film.
“Whiskey” is a deafeningly subtle film, which has a good balance between beauty and humor. He has been showered with awards all over the world, proving Rebella and Stoll that they are among the international top in the field of independent films. All in all, well worth a look.