Tuesday, 7 February 2012

#27 Uruguay — Whisky (2004)

Comedy is probably the genre I have the most loose taste in. People are often surprised to hear that I love films like Anchorman, Airplane and Hot Shots Part Deux as well as the films of Buster Keaton or Chaplin when most of my favourite films are fairly depressing. The one thing in comedy I really can't stand is the awkward comedy, the film or TV show that delights in making you squirm in discomfort. Whisky is a well made film, but near enough epitomises this niche.

When Jacobo, a socially-awkward sock factory owner, hears that his successful brother is coming to visit him, he asks his similarly introverted employee, Marta, to pose as his wife to make him appear well-to-do.

Each character is well fleshed out and superbly acted. The distance between the two brothers is painfully felt and Marta's difficulty in communication is shown to hide a childlike compassion and warmth. The technical aspects of the film are all well executed. The slow pace wrings out every last drop of discomfort from the scenes and the stark, cold cinematography emphasises the emptiness in the character's lives.

The directing duo do a superb job here, the film is subtly well-observed and focused solely on the three main characters. There is no dressing up or contrived sub-plots here, and the film is all the better for it.

Personally I didn't enjoy Whisky. By the halfway point, I was waiting for it to end so I could watch something a bit less awkward. It is certainly not a bad film though. Many will find joy in the Coenesque repetition coupled with very real characters. Fans of Jim Jarmush, Aki Kaurismaki should definitely look this up. If my earlier review of Noi Albonoi made you watch the film and you enjoyed it, give this a try too.

Note: The film is called Whisky as it is the word used to make people smile for photographs.

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