'Everybody Has A Plan' - Moody Thriller from Argentina

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Image John Harris.
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One of the biggest surprises in the Argentinian film noir Everybody Has a Plan is that Viggo Mortensen speaks fluent Spanish. Mortensen grew up in Venezuela and Argentina, and Spanish is his native language. That's not the only surprise, however, in this well-crafted, moody thriller set in el Tigre, one of the seven largest deltas in the world, a place that's not quite land nor water, a place in between. That fluid state of being characterizes the twin brothers Mortensen plays, one an amiable criminal, the other an unhappy pediatrician in Buenos Aires.

We first meet Pedro, the shaggy sometime-kidnapper, who still lives in the delta in the brothers' childhood home and tends beehives. El Tigre was once the weekend playground of the elite in Buenos Aires and there are still wealthy families living in estates on the river banks. Pedro's crew run by an old friend is not made up of Robin Hoods, though. They kidnap and kill a local grocer, which doesn't seem especially smart since Pedro sells him honey and they are all well known in the neighborhood. This is film noir territory, however, so life is gritty and filled with foolish crimes and their inevitable consequences.

When the scene suddenly shifts to a city, it takes a little while to understand that this is not a flashback. Instead we are introduced to Pedro's twin brother, Agustin, a depressed doctor trapped in a marriage to a woman intent on adopting a child. Agustin's wife Claudia is played by the Argentinian actress Soledad Villamil, who starred in the 2010 Academy-Award nominated The Secret in Their Eyes. She is just as good here as she was in that film, and her dark eyes hold all the hope and anguish of a woman in her situation.

Everybody Has a Plan turns on itself when Claudia storms out of the apartment after Agustin tells her he doesn't want a child. Left alone, he sinks deeper into depression until Pedro suddenly shows up with a surprising piece of news. He is terminally ill and needs Agustin's help. The brothers, who haven't seen each other in years, approach each other warily. Can they help each other?

After Pedro's demise, Agustin travels to el Tigre and slips into his brother's life. As in all good noirs, there's a fascinating woman of ambivalent morality. The young Rosa works for Pedro taking care of the bees and continues when he comes back home. Will she figure out that he's a different man? Will Agustin be discovered by the thug he and Pedro played with as kids? Writer/director Ana Piterbarg keeps the suspense going and Lucio Bonelli's cinematography fills the screen with shadows and currents. The film feels softer and less abrasive than the American noir classics, but that's not a bad thing. Atmosphere is important here and fills in the spaces in the plot.
Last edited: 9 August 2013 15:20:15
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