Everybody Has a Plan (Todos tenemos un plan)

by Drew Kerr on September 18, 2012

in Film Festivals,TIFF

Everybody Has a Plan (Todos tenemos un plan)

Everybody Has a Plan (Todos tenemos un plan) (Director: Ana Piterbarg): This marks the fourth Spanish-language film for Viggo Mortensen, who spent a number of years in his youth living in Argentina. His latest pro­ject finds him playing identical twin brothers in this film noir from Argentinian first-time fea­ture dir­ector Ana Piterbarg, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

The premise: Agustín (played by Mortensen) appears to have the ideal life. He’s a pedi­at­ri­cian with an attractive wife (Claudia, played by Soledad Villamil) living quite com­fort­ably in Buenos Aires. The couple’s plan to adopt a baby derails when Agustín changes his mind at the last minute, leading to a huge rift that brings to the sur­face the true unful­fill­ment that Agustín feels with his life. In the midst of a depressive episode where Agustín decides to lock him­self in a room, Claudia leaves for some time away and Agustín soon receives a visit from his estranged twin brother, Pedro (also played by Mortensen), a bee­keeper who reveals he has ter­minal lung cancer. Certain cir­cum­stances lead to Agustín even­tu­ally escaping his obligation-filled exist­ence and assuming his brother’s iden­tity, taking up res­id­ence in Pedro’s run­down shack in Argentina’s Tigre Delta island region where the brothers grew up. A romance develops with one of Pedro’s much younger bee farm helpers (Rosa, played by Sofía Gala Castaglione), while Agustín becomes caught up in the fal­lout from Pedro’s past crim­inal affairs with some shady locals.

Mortensen is solid as the brothers, who only share a few scenes sim­ul­tan­eously. Sometimes it’s dif­fi­cult telling them apart, although the Pedro char­acter tends to be a little more rough around the edges and frankly, I couldn’t dis­tin­guish the subtle dif­fer­ences in the char­ac­ters’ accents that Mortensen talked about during the post-screening Q&A. Regardless, his com­fort level with the Spanish lan­guage is cer­tainly never an issue. Villamil and Castaglione turn in quite fine sup­porting work, but Daniel Fanego as the pro­ver­bial vil­lain is a def­inite weak link in the film. Other than looking rather creepy, I found the role under­written and the actor lacking in screen presence.

Piterbarg and cine­ma­to­grapher Lucio Bonelli do a nice job of cap­turing the dank and swampy atmo­sphere of the isol­ated delta area, which not sur­pris­ingly is a magnet for crim­inals and out­casts and makes for a nice back­drop for the mal­feas­ance that drives the nar­rative. The dir­ector also spe­cific­ally lets a number of ques­tions hang, adding to the film’s mys­tery, but occa­sion­ally there are some befud­dling story choices. Most glaring is the ease with which Agustín passes him­self off as Pedro, as well as the fact that he doesn’t bolt after being beaten by locals who mis­take him for his brother just shortly after his arrival in the Tigre Delta.

Everybody Has a Plan’s flaws, not the least of which is its overly lan­guid pacing, result in a decidedly unre­mark­able viewing experience.

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