Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Everybody Has A Plan

This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 30th June 2013

It’s hard to know what’s most impressive about Viggo Mortensen’s part in this film. He convincingly plays twin brothers with very different lives and individual problems, and speaks fluent Spanish throughout. Were it not for the fact Mortensen has long proved his acting chops in dramas like A History of Violence, and his leading man skills in Lord of the Rings, one might think one had uncovered a humble superstar.

Agustin is a middle class doctor in Buenos Aires, married passively to a woman (Soledad Villamil from the excellent Argentine thriller The Secret in their Eyes) who is desperate for a child. His brother Pedro lives in a river community in the Parana Delta where the boys grew up. When Pedro dies, Agustin grasps the opportunity to escape his existence and assumes his brother’s identity.

The cinematography lingers over people with characterful faces and sombre expressions, set in a harsh, bleak world where Agustin must pick up where his brother left off without actually knowing the finer details of how Pedro lived. It is as intriguing for us as it is bewildering for Agustin, walking the delicate path of pretence while also fending off the locals’ anger at Pedro’s past dealings.

The excellent soundtrack heightens the tension, constantly suggesting something is on the verge of happening – and it invariably does. To the credit of writer/director Ana Piterbarg, the story manages to be slow-burning without ever quite going off the boil, although it then disappoints somewhat with a pffft of an ending.

It is nonetheless a beautiful, artful, engrossing film that teaches one key lesson: if you’re going to take over someone’s life, choose carefully.

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