Film Reviews 2012

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Ana And Viggo Have A Good Plan

By Laura Dariomerlo - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe

6 September 2012

Source: A Sala Llena

© Haddock Films.
It's one in the morning. Wednesday is just beginning and I´m just starting late to write this column. It's that, you see, I wanted to see Todos tenemos un plan and share my impressions with you, but on Monday I was filming until past midnight and on the Tuesday just past, I slept practically all day, trying to recover physically and emotionally. Around ten in the evening, when I finally decided to get out of the tracksuit I was dragging around in since I got out of bed, my man and I went to the Belgrano Multiplex and wrapped way too warmly, we entered the show . There was no one in the theatre yet, so we got good seats. As people started coming in, we hid more and more in our seats, enjoying the smells of the ritual, while we ate chocolate peanuts and Holanda chews. They all went to sit down without making a sound, and once the film started, you could have heard a pin drop until the lights were turned on again. What can I tell you, the film is a jewel. But I'm not going on anymore now; sleep is overcoming me again, so I'll try to continue in the morning. But one thing: I'm deeply moved and want to spread my emotion all around.

It's a small, dark, serious film, and I like the way that it gets hold of the viewer from the beginning and grabs him by the guts. The mystery is not big, but it's true and, above all, human. It's silent, disturbing, concentrated, deeply rooted in the characters that go about their business almost whispering, blended with the landscape, turning it into what seems a sort of "portrait of the species." Well shot, well framed and well edited, this thriller fits in its genre perfectly, and without overblown pretensions. For creatures like me, obsessed with film acting, the film has more than enough stuff to keep you thinking. As an excuse, Viggo doing double duty is enough for an entire column, and if we take into account the fan feelings I have for him since American Yakuza, it will be easy to conclude that I can hold forth at length about someone who once was no less than the King of Gondor.

Viggo falls into the category of actors who, I must say, seem most moving to me - guys who, without tremendous resources, build themselves up in a conscious but, at the same time, deeply intuitive way. This attitude, of a resounding and profound intelligence, results in absolutely alive and fleshed-out acting. There is a close relationship between him and the camera. The guy knows the secrets of that mysterious bridge extended between the actor's performance and the powerful eye of the lens. That, dear friends, is something that looks very much like a treasure. With time he has, in a permanent way, strengthened his position among film stars, bringing a subtle, clean, clear and sincere style that has managed to move the audience in a benevolent way , giving them room to breathe, but, at the same time, grabbing their attention in an irreversible manner. Viggo is GREAT. He's been developing himself from the ground up at a strong, steady pace and without resorting to useless annoying tricks and unnecessary spectacle. His level of commitment is true and renews itself at every moment. And that is as essential as it is invaluable in that strange and exotic hour that comes to very few people - the peculiar transformation of an actor into an artist.

Anyone who's ever been in the presence of a movie camera knows that acting in front of it is work that, above all, relies on minutiae. So, what to simple human sight is natural, everyday and almost insignificant can end up as enormous, exaggerated, obscene, even ridiculous bouncing off the camera. Viggo has taken the pulse of this phenomenon and that helps him construct characters with a high degree of mystery and complexity. Perhaps in this case, it's his Pedro who leans on this talent of his, even when Agustín is the one who carries the action on his shoulders. But through that magic that 'touched' ones like he have, Agustín moves us and keeps opening the way through many things, among them the savage and potent presence of his brother in the story.

We all know that the movie is about substitution of identities, so I'm not screwing up anyone's life when I say that one brother, Agustín, puts himself in the skin of the other, Pedro, and this brings about a series of permanent consequences in his life. All this combined with the affairs of a criminal character, played by Daniel Fanego (in a great performance,) a budding Rosa, young and pure, worthy of love and rescue (Sofía Gala Castiglione) and a beautiful and sweet wife (Villamil), who, at first glance, would never bother anyone but who really breaks Agustín's balls, along with his whole life. These people are braided into a tragic tale, which goes back to cut them out and transport them out of the depths in which they have been stuck. They all find themselves at a turning point in their lives, some near death, others nearing rebirth. But the good thing about this story of few characters is that there are no loose ends. The main characters perform brief but dazzling actions, and things are resolved in a way that is remarkably just and crystal clear.

There is great attention to detail and symbolism in the film, no random playing of tango, no book that is read by chance, and the soundtrack, on the whole minimalist, contributes effectively to the finished construction of this universe that seems to be trapped in a kind of bubble that almost neutralizes the outside. The director manages to successfully round out the moral of the film, almost without error. Perhaps I'm splitting hairs, but just that final scene goes a little too far. It's the only moment in which the text seems over the top, a little excessive. The same scene, in total silence, would have been perfect. But who wants perfect, when good is this good. And this film, my dear friends, is very good. Viggo in the big poster picture and Fanego in the small carry it off subtly and elegantly, delivering a genuine bright flash that puts Argentinian cinema in a different category. It's WONDERFUL and I can say without one bit of guilt that at the end, I felt as envious of the director as [I was] moved and caught up in the film.

Dear Ana, I would like to drink mate with you, braid your hair and be your friend.

When they turned the lights on, a silly girl who was sitting at the back asked that somebody should explain to her what had happened. Some people laughed, others got up and left and a girl who was sitting in front of me and I started applauding. My husband remained seated for quite a while, staring in front of him, and with those clear, half-smiling eyes he has, asked me what I thought of it. With something resembling a lump in my throat, I answered that I loved it and that I thought that Viggo and Ana´s "plan" worked almost perfectly.
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Last edited: 20 September 2012 13:54:14