Everybody Has a Plan (2 stars)

Everybody Has a Plan

Viggo Mortensen stars in this schlocky-but-solemn, slow-paced Argentine noir

Not necessarily a good plan, though, eh? Viggo Mortensen here plays Agustin, a classy Argentinian paediatrician who, frustrated by his bourgeois life and his wife’s attempts to further pin him down by adopting a child, takes advantage of an unexpected opportunity to change everything about his life. Off he pops to the countryside to pass himself off as his twin brother Pedro, a shady beekeeper with no money and a bad case of lung cancer! As any of us surely would, given the chance (hasn’t he heard of divorce?). Agustin doesn’t really prepare for his big move very well - by, say, researching the detail of the new existence he’s heading for, or taking a suitcase full of money with him. So he very quickly finds himself in considerably hotter water than he has left: broke, mixed up with grisly characters and embroiled in the aftermath of a murder. Some solace comes in the delicate form of Rosa, a local girl with an infantile mode of dress, a permanently wobbly lower lip and an apparent sexual fetish for men three times her age; but that liaison, amazingly, brings its own problems.

It’s kind of remarkable that a female writer-director (Ana Piterbarg) has turned out a film with such passive, sketchy female characters; but that’s not the worst of this film’s problems. If it had admitted to itself from the start that its improbability-laden noir plot was purest schlock, it might have been able to conjure a little camp fun. But as it is it wades through its two-hour running time very solemn-faced indeed, and allows you plenty of time to ponder how very stupid it is. Cinematography is pretty, and Mortensen is always watchable; but this is a slog to say the least. For much better switched-twin hokum, seek out Bette Davis in 1946’s A Stolen Life.

Everybody Has a Plan - Trailer

Everybody Has a Plan

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • Argentina / Spain / Germany
  • 1h 58min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Ana Piterbarg
  • Written by: Ana Piterbarg
  • Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Soledad Villamil, Daniel Fanego
  • UK release: 31 May 2013

To escape suffocating middle class life in Buenos Aires, sneaky Agustín (Mortensen) assumes the identity of his dead twin brother, Pedro (also Mortensen), an underworld criminal.