Original Title: Whisky
Director: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll
Genre: Comedy, Drama
20.12.2019: This review was first published on 25.04.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
Hello, Welcome to Ulven Reviews!
Whisky is an Uruguayan drama and comedy film from 2004 directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, telling the story of a man presenting a fake wife to his brother so he doesn’t look lonely.
World Cup Historic
Uruguay is one of the eight World Cup champions, it was the first host of the competition in 1930, without the participation of most European teams. That year they were also the first Champions.
In 34 and 38, hosted by Italy and France respectively, they decided to boycott the competition in response to the absence of European teams when they were the ones hosting.
In 42 and 46, the World Cup didn’t happen because of the Second World War (1939-1945), so Uruguay was back on stage in 1950 when Brazil was the host and favorite to win the title.
In the last game, Brazil only needed a draw against Uruguay, and the home side opened the score in front of the 200 thousand people present at Maracanã stadium. Uruguay came back, scoring two goals and winning their second title. This game became known as Maracanazo.
Between 1950 and 2018, Uruguay played many World Cups but never reaching the third title. In Russia, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez put the country among favorites, but after Cavani’s injury against Portugal, they lost their strength and got eliminated by France.
The directors Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll met in University and later began a partnership in movie making. They made three projects together, one short movie and two feature-length films.
They were working on their third full-length collaboration when the partnership ended tragically. In July 2006, the 32-year-old Juan Pablo Rebella sadly committed suicide in his apartment in Montevideo. He was found by his girlfriend and, his partner, Stoll.
Since we are talking about suicide, it’s important to say that if you are experiencing any trace of suicidal thoughts, look for someone you trust and for professional help.
Today’s we’ll talk about the duo’s last movie together: Whisky from 2004. “Digan Whisky!”, when taking a photograph, it’s the equivalent of “Say Cheese!” in English, it’s that what the movie’s title is referencing.
Jacobo Köller (played by Andrés Pazos) is the owner of an old and antiquated sock factory with few employees. One of these employees is Marta Acuña (played by Mirella Pascual), the supervisor of the factory.
Jacobo and Marta have boring and lonely lives, with a strict routine in the factory and in their particular moments, but everything changes when Jacobo’s brother arrives for their mother Matzevah.
Herman Köller (played by Jorge Bolani) is very different from his brother. A social and modern man, who likes to have fun traveling, singing and breaking the routine in his life.
The brothers are very distant, but Jacobo doesn’t want Herman to see how lonely and sad he is, so he asks Marta to pretend to be his wife. She accepts.
The movie starts intentionally slow, mimicking the boredom in Jacobo’s and Marta’s lives, then Herman arrives to lift the mood up a little bit. But don’t be fooled, the rest of the movie is still a little boring.
Whisky is not as bland as the 2012 french movie A Few Hours of Spring (a movie I might talk about in the future). Whisky is a good film with a lot of character and emotion.
One of my favorite directors is Nicolas Winding Refn. His movies have very few dialogues, in Valhalla Rising from 2009, for example, the main character, played by Mads Mikkelsen, doesn’t say a word for the whole movie. I don’t remember if he was really mute or just decided not to speak.
Whisky is not as silent as Refn’s films, but it also relies on the actors’ performances, especially showing emotion and on our capabilities of observing details than in expository dialogue. A great example of “show, don’t tell”.
Talking about performances, the acting is beautiful, concise and delicate, feels real. It’s the opposite of that over-acting that the academy loves, like Daniel Day-Lewis winning the Oscars for My Left Foot from 1989.
Sometimes I think the more you scream and drool, the better chance of winning an Academy Award for best actor. Of course, there are exceptions, like Mahershala Ali’s two Oscars.
The superb acting complement well crafted the characters. Jacobo as a bitter and retrograde man, so inert that was near catatonic; Herman as an uncle-type, more charismatic than the brother, who traveled and lived life.
And lastly, Marta. Inert and bored like Jacobo, but not yet bitter and unpleasant as him, realizing that she can enjoy her life as Herman does. I believe that’s where the beauty of the movie resides, with Marta.
As for settings and props, everything seems older than it should be. As far as I know, the movie portrays the early 2000s, but it looks like the 80s or 90s, and I believe this was as intentional as the boredom.
Every action from the part of the filmmakers seems intentional, demonstrating the mastery of the pair of directors, executing the movie brilliantly in almost every aspect, leaving a very competent final work.
After watching it for the first time, I was very reflexive and emotionally moved by the movie. But the more time passed, the thing that stuck longer with me was the monotony.
I must repeat, there are much less exciting movies than Whisky, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie is kinda lacking in this department. I have more positive things to say than negative, so I will give it 8 Moons.
Please don’t be discouraged by my criticism about some things, because the movie is really worth watching. When you do it, come back here and tell us what is your opinion about it.