Whisky - the Movie
"One of the best films of the year... Brilliant!"2004 wasn't a particularly fantastic year for film, but it wasn't bad. LOTR: The Return of the King won Best Picture and Lost in Translation, chock full of exciting whisky visuals, was nominated for a handful of Academy Awards. Good stuff.
- City Pages (Minneapolis)
On the other hand, from Uruguay, came the film "Whisky." Admittedly, Sue and I chose it for its cover. Besides the alluring title, it was thoroughly showered with prizes. And yet, it was a poor choice.
The first half of the movie was interesting, despite the minimal and painful dialogue. The director makes mundane seem captivating as regular people encounter everyday problems not typically explored in film. At times the repetitiveness of these problems provided mild amusement while other times I found myself yelling, "We get it! Move on!"
"Profound, deadpan comedy" - The New York Times. Deadpan? Maybe. The actors conversations were so flat I believed they were amateurs pulled directly off the street. But that's okay, because I knew I'd be excited when they got into the whisky.
"Exhilarating!" - Miami Herald. Aside from the fact I found the intricacies of the machinery (a sock factory) exciting, I would say the correct word to describe this movie is boring. But that's okay, because I was excited, readying my mind to see how many whiskies I could recognize.
"Masterfully understated comic performances." - BBC (UK). There were a few somewhat funny moments where I smiled, but nothing sly, witty or masterful. The performances were so utterly devoid of emotion it could have been acted by cardboard boxes. But that's okay, because I couldn't wait to see what kinds of whisky they were going to drink!
Approximately three quarters of the way through the film, I came to the realization I'd been duped. There was no climax to the (in)activities of the protagonists and there was no whisky. None whatsoever.
The misleading title wasn't the only source of my frustration. The key element of the plot (when his brother comes to visit, Jacobo asks one of his employees to pretend to be his wife) was never explained and stories that started to develop from it were never explored. It was almost an interesting film, but every aspect of it was far, far too restrained.
How it won the grand prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, or first prize at the Havana Film Festival are so beyond my comprehension that I've come up with one logical answer: no other films competed against it.
If Whisky has taught me anything it's proof that your grade school teachers were right - never judge anything by its cover, even if the cover is full of accolades.