Film Review – Everybody Has a Plan (2013)

Deep in the woods of an Argentinian forest, Pedro (Viggo Mortensen) leads a simple life. He lives on his own in a cabin, tends to his bees with local girl Rosa (Sofia Gala) and is involved in less legitimate activities with childhood friend Adrian (Daniel Fanego) and the latter’s slow-witted godson Ruben (Javier Godino). But when he begins coughing up blood, he knows he is quickly succumbing to cancer and he decides to make a rare trek into the city to see his brother.

Meanwhile, in the city, his identical twin brother Agustin, a paediatrician, leads a comfortable but unhappy life and feels only numbness when his wife tells him they can adopt a baby. When the scruffy, chain-smoking Pedro visits unexpectedly and offers him a cash reward for treatment, Agustin seizes a chance to take his sibling’s life and kills him, leaving his body to fake his death, enabling him to return to the cabin in Pedro’s place.

Agustin soon realises his brother’s life was no idyllic backwater breeze, however, as he has to feign his sibling’s ailments while piecing together his estranged brother’s life and figuring out how to extract himself from the kidnapping scheme Pedro got himself involved with. The bees which make their way into his unfamiliar beekeeping suit turn out to be the least of his problems as he inherits a vendetta with the owners of a local general store, further isolating himself from the remote community. He also has to navigate an uneasy relationship the gun-toting, bible-quoting Adrian and convince Rosa that he hasn’t been acting strange since he returned from the city.

Everybody Has a Plan is a ponderously paced though richly atmospheric affair, its picturesque setting all broody swamps, hazy sunsets and fields speckled with ghostly trees. But a strong sense of place isn’t matched by the story, which is thin and difficult to ever really care about. Similarly, the romance with Rosa feels underdone. The main reason to see this, a debut picture from Argentinian Ana Piterbarg, is Mortensen, who turns in not one but two intense and convincing performances, in Spanish no less. Mortensen remains a great screen presence, but he needs a better avenue for his considerable talents.

Originally appeared in : Concrete Playground 

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