First off – sorry this review is posted so late; but as the following passage in the Robert Burns poem, To a Mouse states:
But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
I so had the best of intentions last week and while I had bits of my commentary written out, I just could not manage to finish and refine it on time. ANYWAYS, I am finally there and so, here we are.
Normally when I am posting a review/response to a film, I do not look at what others say. This time however and for this film in particular, I was a bit curious. When I read the IMDB rating and the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate, as well as read some of the corresponding reviews, I was a bit surprised. While I would not put this film up there with the great thrillers of this or any other era, it is not the as bad as some would characterize it.
Indeed the film is held together for the most part on the strength of its lead, Viggo Mortensen; but there is another element that captured my notice – the environmental setting, known in Argentina as the Tigre Delta. It seems the perfect location and backdrop for a story shrouded in mystery; one that relies on the revelations of the unknown.
Directed and written by filmmaker Ana Piterbarg, Everybody Has a Plan (Todos Tenemos Un Plan) tells the story of brothers Agustin and Pedro (Mortensen in a dual role), who could not be any different. By all accounts, Agustin is respectable doctor who lives with his wife in Buenos Aires. Eventually the audience is made privy to the uneasiness that Agustin has with his staid life and is seeking life’s ‘next big adventure.’
His identical twin brother, Pedro, lives in the aforementioned Delta of their childhood. Early on, it was not totally apparent to me what he was involved in, but it definitely looked a little shady. Almost immediately, my suspicions were confirmed.
At the moment of Pedro’s untimely (?) death Agustin decides to put action to his thoughts about pursuing that adventure, assuming his brother’s identity and returning to the Tigre Delta. Upon his arrival ‘home,’ he soon discovers the many layers of his brother’s less-than-noble activities.
So what did I think about the film? Off the bat, I must admit, that yes, some of the criticism (and praise) I have read was reasonable. On the plus side thee was the already referred to performance of Viggo Mortensen.
On the negative side, on more than one occasion, I was not sure what this film was trying to be – was it a straightforward crime thriller? an intense family relationship drama? a taught mystery?
Now, this is not to say a film cannot have ALL of these elements but rather that at its most effective, a film more or less follows an identifiable narrative path. The process of moving beyond this convention to surprise and shock an audience is usually left to the most artistically adventurous of filmmakers.
For Mortensen’s part, I can totally see why he would take on this project (he is also credited one of the film’s Producers). Having spent his early years in Argentina, this marks a homecoming of sorts. It is obvious in his portrayal that he is comfortable and at ease with the material and the language.
So to recap, not a great film but definitely a terrible one either (at least in my opinion).
Filmed in Spanish with English subtitles; total running time of 118 minutes.