After another long day of visiting media lounges I made my way to Winter Garden Theatre to see Todos tenemos un plan, or Everybody Has A Plan. This Argentinian film is the first feature film from director Ana Piterbarg, who has been directing tv for years. She wrote Everybody Has A Plan well over 10 years ago, but was lacking the star. One day at a sports club she ran into Viggo Mortensen and humbly requested that he read her script. He agreed and the rest is history.
It’s not hard to guess what drew Viggo to this film. It is quiet and dark, unnerving and deep. With a cast of characters limited to to six (two of them played by Viggo) it gives great focus to their hidden depths. The title alludes to the idea that, even when seemingly directionless, everyone on some level has a plan for their life. The movie then deconstructs that idea with a protagonist who is so depressed that taking on the criminal mess of a life his twin brother leads is preferable to his own. Agustin is quiet and listless and walks away from luxury and family to live in a shack surrounded by people who hate him. Admittedly they assume he is his twin brother Pedro, but he does nothing to correct the misunderstanding. Stepping into Pedro’s shoes proves not to be an escape, but Agustin commits to the deception with more conviction than he gave to any aspect of his old life.
Tragedy and violence are Pedro’s true legacy, and so while Agustin has sought out peace and solitude he instead finds suspicion and murder. Throughout it all it is unclear whether or not he will pull the plug, and the anticipation is wonderful.
Everybody Has A Plan is very slow-paced, and can seem to drag at some points. But the sense of unease it generates in the audience mirrors that of Agustin, allowing for understanding of an otherwise incomprehensible character. Viggo plays twin brothers and, like every roll he takes, commits to it completely. There are only two scenes in which the brothers interact, and while movie magic makes it seamless it is Viggo who makes it real. Director Piterbarg has done an amazing job with her first full length future, and to have snagged Viggo to help bring it to life is an absolute coup. It is a slow movie with very little dialogue and less action, but if you’re looking for an unflinching character study then I recommend it.
Seeing a Viggo film at TIFF is mandatory for me now, because he always makes an appearance and his Q&A sessions are delightful. Before the screening he managed to do one better and actually came to the lineup for a little while to sign autographs. The crowd reacted quietly and politely and it was over so quickly it felt like I imagined it. The Q&A was one of my favourites of any year I’ve attended. Viggo and Ana are an adorable duo and I hope they work together again.