Fans of Viggo Mortensen will adore this brooding, tangled, slow-burn slice of South American noir. He dominates the narrative and the screen for the two-hour running time, playing dual roles as twin brothers going through the ultimate mid-life crisis and catharsis.
The action shifts from the swamps of the Tigre Delta where the brothers grew up, to the slick city of Buenos Aires and back again. The film contrasts the lives, characters and lost opportunities of the pair, who obviously chose different paths when they reached adulthood... but whose destinies seem to be woven together. When Agustín, a city doctor, starts to implode under the weight of his suffocating relationship, his twin brother Pedro pays a surprise visit and provides an escape route alternative existence. It's the ultimate get-out from a stifling life: ditch all responsibilities, flee to the rural badlands and a simple existence of bee-keeping, and return to the log-cabin life of childhood fantasy.
Except it's not that simple... because Pedro is not a moral man. His criminal activities and cronies dominate Agustín's return to the community. Agustín's gentle, thoughtful nature endear him to the young woman who helps tend the bees, but to Pedro's associates who kidnap, brutalise and kill, he is considered a weakling, not a *real* man like his brother.
Mortensen's performances are intense and compelling, crafting two distinct and credible characters with sparse dialogue (spoken in Spanish, subtitled in English). Agustín evolves throughout the film - at first not even wanting to touch his brother's shoes, then reflexively slipping into them when rousted from his bed by the local lawmen.
The supporting cast are equally well-chosen; watch the scene with Agustín and his wife visiting the baby in hospital to observe her intense need to adopt the child and his utter ambivalence to the situation - revealed not in words but in their contrasting physical performances.
The photography in the backwaters is equally impressive, reflecting the film's oppressive, twisted atmosphere in moments of visual clarity. A house on stilts blazes against the night sky; a lonely, battered boat weaves through the convoluted river. But always the camera returns to the focus of the film, and the inevitable confrontation which arises when two such similar men attempt to occupy the same space and time.
Don't expect Hollywood-style shoot-outs, or even the kind of slick, happy-go-lucky swamplife as featured in Beasts of the Southern Wild [DVD]. 'Everybody Has A Plan' is much more gritty and grim; it has moments of redemption but these only serve to accentuate the relentless awfulness of the inevitable outcome. Not everybody in this film has a plan, and they certainly can't escape the reality of who they are.