Starring in Ana Piterbarg’s impressive debut feature EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN, Viggo Mortensen plays twin brothers whose initial disparities become increasingly blurred as their murky lives become ever more intertwined. Living in the deep backwater of Tigre in Buenos Aires province, Pedro (Mortensen) maintains an understated and gloomy existence as a beekeeper whilst moonlighting as a petty criminal. After coming to terms with the fact he is slowly dying of cancer, Pedro takes a trip to the city to visit his brother Agustín (also Mortensen), who lives a comfortable existence as a married doctor and is looking to adopt a child.
When events conspire to breach the already estranged relationship between the two men, revealing a deep-seated emotional frailty on Agustín’s part, there is an opportunity for the disheartened doctor to escape his current situation. Foregoing his stifling dwellings, Agustín travels back to the watery Paraná Delta where he and Pedro enjoyed a close childhood, only to find a catalogue of his brother’s previous criminal associations and misdeeds waiting to confront him.
Maintaining a smoggy atmosphere of looming tension throughout, Piterbarg’s film is engrossing and well judged – combining a deft approach to establishing the unsettling climate of the Tigre with a narrative that gets progressively more striking as it bounds along. Mortensen excels in the dual roles of Pedro and Agustín, perfectly carrying the film and infusing each scene he is in with a gruff, though inherently compassionate, demeanour.
Maintaining a smoggy atmosphere of looming tension throughout, Piterbarg’s film is engrossing and well judged…
Piterbarg’s appreciation of the thriller genre is clear to see, with him utilising Lucio Bonelli’s noirish cinematography to full effect. However, it is somewhat alarming to find that the confluence of visuals and talent (both in front of and behind the camera) rarely amount to anything particularly memorable. While Pedro, and latterly Agustín’s, fractured lives are excellently examined in the few scenes they share together, it is unfortunately curtailed in favour of an overarching plot that gets progressively more bloody and commonplace, negating the originality of the film’s opening half. Likewise, the full effects of Agustín’s selfishness – easily the more interesting aspect of the narrative, is only rarely mused over, with only a handful of scenes shared with his wife Claudia (Soledad Villamil) given minimal room to breathe.
Not without its estimable merits, the clunkily titled EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN starts as an original depiction of two siblings at war with both themselves and their respective climates, yet whatever boldness it carries eventually fades away into murky obscurity.