Viggo Mortensen – what a freakin’ Renaissance Man. Not just a musician, poet, painter, actor and Aragorn son of Arathorn, he also speaks perfect Argentine Spanish (the legacy of a childhood spent in Argentina), as he proves in Todos Tenemos un Plan (Everybody Has a Plan).
Argentinean director Ana Piterbarg brings an original screenplay and Mortensen brings his trademark gravitas, that sense of being a good man who’s capable of terrible things that was employed to such great effect in films like A History of Violence. And there are similarities between Cronenberg’s film and this tense, remorseless crime thriller – both involve people pretending to be other than they are; both have people trying to escape a criminal past.
In Piterbarg’s film Mortensen plays this role out across two characters – Agustín, the disaffected paediatrician living comfortably in Buenos Aires but plotting to escape from his wife and her plans to adopt a baby, and his twin brother Pedro, a gruff chain smoker mixed up in some bad shit, who hasn’t left their childhood life of crippling poverty on the Paraná Delta floodplains. In one of a series of very bad decisions, Agustín steals Pedro’s identity and heads back to the Delta, where he becomes immediately embroiled back in the cruelty and violence he’d once escaped.
It could play out like a hokey TV movie – identical twins, stolen identities, small time criminals – but instead becomes something more. It’s beautifully shot, filled with menacing and romantic shots of the flood plain rivers – which look just like the Mississippi Bayou, but with everyone wearing jumpers in the cold – and the acting is restrained and measured. Just like Agustín arriving back on the Delta pretending to be his twin brother, you don’t know exactly what the relationships are between people, and the driving force of the film is seeing those relationships slowly unveiled as events spiral towards an inevitable showdown. Think classic crime thriller done arthouse style – expect it to be remade for the US within the year.
BY NICK JARVIS
Everybody Has A Plan is in cinemas now.