Everybody Has a Plan

everybody has a plan poster

While Mexican and Brazilian cinemas have slowly been building a strong presence on the international film circuit, mostly thanks to emblematic onscreen ambassadors such as  Alfonso Cuarón, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna – to name a few – other countries are still struggling to get their productions across the border; this, of course, doesn’t mean that their movie industry is inexistent but rather that risk-averse American distributors are mostly looking for films that could appeal to the U.S. audience. The other issue is that because Latin American film industries are still in a nascent state, it is more difficult to find movies strong enough to compete on the film market.

And this is certainly something that occurs with Argentinian cinema – to give you an idea, despite all their accolades, I even found The Secret In Their Eyes and Nine Queens to be far from satisfying. I had however high hopes for Everybody Has A Plan, based on its premise and Mr. Viggo Mortensen’s acquired taste in movies.

With its claustrophobic  atmosphere – a bayou-like environment near Buenos Aires –,  a theme recalling the works of filmmakers Brian de Palma or Alfred Hitchcock (twins interchanging identities) and Mr. Mortensen (Eastern PromisesThe Lord of the Rings, On the Road) incarnating the two brothers, Ana Piterbar’sfirst feature film seemed like a strong contender.  Unfortunately, right from the beginning, Everybody Has A Plan seemed to be doomed due to a flawed script. It only takes a few minutes to find out that the central character, Augustin, is underwritten:  after suddenly realizing that he can’t handle kids, the pediatrician refuses to adopt a kid with his wife and locks himself in his home office for weeks, losing everything in the process. The arrival of Pedro, his long lost twin brother comes handy, especially as he tells him he has cancer and needs help to end his life. This will of course allow Augustin to switch identities with Pedro but what awaits him might be worse than what he bargained for.

From there, we follow a story filled with crooked characters and murders without much interest. Because the script fails at developing believable portraits, it is almost impossible to connect with anybody here and develop any kind of empathy – to be frank even the ending left me indifferent while it was clearly shooting for emotions. What saves the movie from being a total failure is its gorgeous gloomy cinematography – think Heart of Darkness beauty – and Mr. Mortensen’s subtle performance. Having grown up in Argentina, the actor is fully fluent, with a perfect Argentinian accent and he seems to have a lot of fun playing these two opposite brothers – especially when it comes to Augustin delivering a bad imitation of Pedro.

Those of us who were ready to finally embrace Argentinian cinema will have to wait, Everybody Has A Plan being an awkward step in that direction. Fortunately, Ms. Piterbar seems to have enough talent as a director to give us hope she might find greatness once she gets a good script in her hands.

Director: Ana Piterbarg – Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Soledad Villamil – Running time: 1:58 – Year: 2013 – Country: Argentinia

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.