Viszkis was one of the most famous bank robbers in Hungary. He drunk whiskey before every robbing. This is his story.Viszkis was one of the most famous bank robbers in Hungary. He drunk whiskey before every robbing. This is his story.
This is an accomplished crime/action movie, fast-paced and fluid, elegantly shot and often funny, with a charismatic hero, rich period detail, and a lightly satirical view of the post-communist transition in Hungary.
Los Angeles-born filmmaker of Hungarian descent Nimród Antal became an international star with his 2003 hit Kontroll [+] and went on to make several Hollywood films with varying degrees of success. He is now back with his first Hungarian film after 14 years, The Whiskey Bandit [+], which has just world-premiered as a Special Screening at the Warsaw Film Festival.
The movie is an adaptation of the real-life story of Attila Ambrus, a “gentleman criminal” often compared in Hungary to Sándor Rózsa, the country’s version of Robin Hood. Antal starts the film with a stylishly staged robbery that the moustachioed, Ray Ban- and leather jacket-clad hero pulls off in a bank. Then we go back to his childhood, and we soon realise that Attila (first-timer Bence Szalay), or the titular Whiskey Bandit, has been arrested and is now telling his life story to the detective (Zoltán Schneider, also seen this year in On Body and Soul [+]) who has been hunting him for decades.
Attila grew up in Transylvania in the 1980s and escaped to Hungary illegally by riding underneath a freight train. We see how he becomes a goalie for a hockey team in Budapest and finds a girlfriend, Kata (Piroska Móga, from Strangled [+]), whose bourgeois father dismisses him as hopeless, without a job nor much chance of getting one. Trying to get a work permit, he goes to a corrupt government official in order to get him to pull some strings, but this does not work without “greasing the wheels”, as Antal’s screenplay puts it. So he turns to robbing banks, not once hurting anybody, and soon gains a reputation as a folk hero. The nickname comes from the smell of whiskey he leaves behind, as he always drinks before a heist – first simply to calm his nerves, but later, more to uphold his reputation.
LIEGE POLICIER – 2018
„Coup de Coeur” Jury Prize
Young Jury Prize
Anna & Martin Donlon