Film review: EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN, from Built For Speed

For the first fifteen minutes of the slow-moving Argentinian crime drama, Everybody Has a Plan, audiences will be wondering what the hell is going on. The film jumps back and forth between various scenarios, each of which features Viggo Mortensen as an apparently different character. In one he’s a clean-cut doctor, in another a dishevelled and disillusioned husband to wife Claudia (Soledad Villamil) and in yet another he’s a low rent criminal and bee-keeper. I was initially entertaining the idea that this was a darker take on the Sliding Doors multiverse scenario.  We discover, however, that the doctor and husband are one person named Augstin and that the criminal is his cancer-stricken, identical twin brother Pedro. When the dying Pedro unexpectedly pays Augustin a visit, Augustin sees the opportunity to escape his stressful life and masquerade as Pedro.  Slotting into the life of a criminal, however, has its problems, particularly when murder and kidnapping are involved.

Everybody has a Plan attempts to create the sort of hypnotic, contemplative mood that worked so well in films like Anton Corbijn’s The American.  Unfortunately, Plan’s thin ambiguous plot, restrained tone and leisurely pace just render it unsatisfying and dull.  While the film hints at themes of identity, family bonds and redemption through love, director Ana Piterbarg’s feather-light brush strokes never lend these themes enough substance.  The filmmakers attempt to give the story and characters more gravity by including some painfully obvious religious references such as allusions to the Cain and Abel story, Bible quotes and characters who bear stigmata-like wounds.

Viggo Mortensen delivers a typically intense and nuanced performance (or in this case performances) as Augustin and Pedro and he palpably conveys, in Augustin, the anxiety of a naive stranger in a hostile place.  More, however, could have been done to show the practical difficulties of someone trying to pass themselves off as another person.  Among a solid supporting cast, Daniel Fanego is memorable as the violent and lecherous crime boss Adrian.

The film also features some attractive and atmospheric cinematography of the waterways and forests where Pedro and his associates ply their criminal trade.

The film’s positive aspects, however, can’t overcome its languorous tone and an unfocused plot that will have many audience members losing interest before the final credits.


Nick’s rating: Two and a half stars.

Classification: MA.

Director(s): Ana Piterbarg.

Release date: 27th June 2013

Running time: 118 mins.


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