Uncovering Curiosities: Ana Piterbarg’s EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN (Todos Tenemos Un Plan)

Viggo Mortensen takes the lead in this 2012 Argentinean dramatic thriller from Ana Piterbarg. It’s a moody piece, but the drama and the thriller aspects never really come together. That’s a shame because there’s much to recommend.

Mortensen plays Agustin, a doctor who feels suffocated by life. His wife (Soledad Villamil) wants to adopt a child, while he wants to lead a quieter, child-free life. This disparity in priorities leads to a split in their relationship, but steps in when Agustin’s estranged identical twin brother Pedro (also played by Mortensen) suddenly appears. Fortunately Pedro meets an untimely death, so Agustin decides to step into his seemingly simpler existence as a beekeeper. However, Pedro’s life is even more complicated than Agustin’s as he’s involved in a kidnapping ring. He’s soon caught between his love for Pedro’s young girlfriend, Rosa (Sofía Gala) and Adrian (Daniel Fanego), the leader of the kidnapping gang who won’t let Agustin/Pedro step away from his life of crime.

Everybody Has a Plan’s key asset is Viggo Mortensen. He gives a strong performance in the dual roles of Agustin and Pedro. It’s not a flashy performance, it’s subtle and filled with many layers. It would have been easier for Mortensen to make the brothers polar opposites, playing up their differences. However, Mortensen gives them similar traits -it’s the small things that make the difference. It’s made even more impressive because his performance in this Argentinean drama is in fluent Spanish. It again shows that Mortensen has shaken off his Lord Of The Rings character. He could easily have coasted as a cut-out Hollywood leading man, but he’s turned his back on that world to deliver strong character work.

In many ways Everybody Has a Plan is similar to Michelangelo Antonioni’s drama, The Passenger. That 1975 film saw Jack Nicholson as a man who takes on the identity of an acquaintance he meets in a hotel. However, while Antonioni was willing to just let the drama play out, Piterbarg’s film takes a turn into thriller territory during the last act. Identity switch films can often verge on the ridiculous; they are often filled with too many coincidences. The thriller aspect here doesn’t gel with the low key quality of what went before it. It’s doesn’t ruin the film, but it makes it feel slightly implausible. It almost makes the film feel conventional. The film would have been much better if we were just allowed to watch Mortensen’s character settle into his new life.

Everybody Has a Plan is a well shot film with a strong performance from Viggo Mortensen. The first portion of the film is when the film really shines, before it takes a turn into thriller territory. It doesn’t ruin the film, but unsettles the subtle mood that was created. It’s still worth your time though.