by Atzin Ortiz, Contributing Blogger
Writer-director Ana Piterbarg has a very ambitious plan for her debut: making a big budget (around 3 million dollars, co-produced with Fox International), crowd-pleasing existential thriller starring a Spanish-speaking Viggo Mortensen in a double role. Despite her best intentions, and having a top notch pedigree onboard, “Todos Tenemos Un Plan” never truly goes full throttle, mainly because it’s not sure how it wants to unfold.
Mortensen plays twins Agustín and Pedro. Agustín is a pediatrician and is having an existential crisis when his wife (Soledad Villamil, in a minor and wasted role) is making the last arrangements for an immediate adoption. Pedro, on the other hand, lives in the stunningly gloomy delta of Tigre (cinematographer Lucio Bonelli makes the area the other main character), has his beekeeping small business, and takes part in the local kidnapping of Tigre’s wealthy people. An unfortunate event will take place when Pedro comes to visit Agustín. And as a result, Agustín will take the identity of his brother and will get caught in his shady history.
There is another identity problem that involves the film itself. As it begins, we witness a kidnapping going terribly wrong in the wilderness of Tigre. One could assume that this suggests a thriller on the way. When the movie shifts to the city, the tone does as well. Here, it looks as if we are in a character-study drama. Mixing genres is not an impossible task, but one must have a clear idea of how both worlds will co-exist. It fails as a thriller by opening a lot of possibilities, bringing lots of characters (who suddenly dissapear), but leaving plenty of plot holes. And it never truly succeeds as a drama because it doesn’t allow the existential side (and hinted directions) of the story to take the main lead or fully develop.
The acting is uneven as well: Mortensen is inconsistent; Villamil is always reliable but her character gets chopped up pretty soon; Javier Godino unnecesary role feels like a payed due to the production team of “The Secret in Their Eyes” (he acted there, and they are the producers behind this film); Sofía Gala Castiglione does a good effort as the young but not-so-innocent love interest; but the standout is Daniel Fanego (recently seen in “¡Atraco!”) as the ruthless Adrián, who is aware of his evil nature and embraces it as his finest virtue.
There’s no doubt that the director’s main interest lies on the dramatic part of the story. The main theme of the double, a classic device in literature and cinema, is custom-made for it. In the end “Todos Tenemos un Plan” could have used a better executed plan.
The film opened nationwide on August 30th.
Todos tenemos un plan (Argentina-Spain-Germany/2012) / Written and Directed by: Ana Piterbarg / Cinematography: Lucio Bonelli / Music: Lucio Godoy y Federico Jusid / Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Soledad Villamil, Sofia Gala Castiglione, Daniel Fanego / Running time: 117 minutos