Viggo Mortensen steps back into his familiar Argentina where he spent much of his childhood in this disappointingly brooding, existential thriller which aimlessly wonders without any degree of purpose. He plays the dual role of twins, one a doctor (Agustín) with a wife who wants a baby, the other (Pedro) a recluse on the wrong side of the law. When Pedro announces to Agustín that he is terminally ill, Agustín assists him in suicide without nearly enough self-doubt or sorrow, before inexplicably deciding to takeover the life of the criminal. Things may have not been absolutely perfect in the doctor’s marriage, but that hardly provides justification for taking over his dead brother’s criminal life, nor does it make sense that no one would realise.
Actually, some of the early scenes are where the film is strongest and most intriguing, before the disappointment that the film doesn’t actually lead to anything. The unconvincing premise and the tone of great significance makes it a difficult film. It’s a cold, humourless and bleak affair. An immensely talented actor like Mortensen should be applauded for taking a chance on a subtitled film from a first time director (who he originally bumped into at a football club) but unfortunately it’s rooted too deeply in realism to constantly rely on the suspension of disbelief. With the purposefully ponderous closing shot there’s still no sense of who this characters was and what motivated him, leaving not nearly enough to chew on.
Everybody Has a Plan (Todos tenemos un plan) is out now in the UK. Running time 118 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).