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Whiskey Review

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Sock manufacturer Jacobo (Pazos) is facing a crisis: estranged brother Herman (Bolani) is coming to stay and Jacobo would rather not admit to his crummy bachelor status. So he cooks up an elaborate scheme, roping in dowdy assistant Marta (Pascual) to play wifey.

★★★★

There are times in life that play out like a series of small deaths: the howling wind that greets a turkey of a punchline, the arse-puckering eternity of sharing a lift with the boss... It’s tempting to label the extraordinary Whisky as 99 minutes of uncomfortable silence. But then, that’s tough to say with a mouth full of laughter.

Shot on a tiny budget, this South American anomaly arrives in the UK already blustered by festival buzz. But in a sense this is its spiritual home: not only is there something peculiarly British about its sense of social unease, but Uruguay is a dead ringer for Scunthorpe.

Whisky does little with its stock screwball premise. Instead, it opts for anti-drama, its narrative unfolding through meticulous observation. Buy into it and you’re rewarded with terrific characters surfacing between the chasms of conversation: Pazos’ turn as Jacobo, a man with face stuck on Stern O’Clock, is a coup of comic understatement.

Stoll and Rebella’s abstract visuals and trancey repetitions owe something to the oblique comedies of Finnish weirdo Aki Kaurismäki, but don’t let that put you off; their technique is hugely effective — and, eventually, affecting

An eccentric masterclass in melancomic ambience, this will find favour with those who like their comedies, if not their socks, odd.