Everybody Has a Plan Ana Piterbarg

Everybody Has a Plan Ana Piterbarg
5
Argentinian director Ana Piterbarg's first feature film is difficult to connect with. Thematically, the story is intriguing, using a lower social stratum Prince and Pauper identity swap plot involving two brothers to mirror human social behaviour with that of the matriarchal hierarchy of bees. The opening scene, in textbook form, clearly lays out a metaphor for everything that follows: a couple of beekeepers replace the queen in order to improve the productivity of the hive. Weaving this naturalist perspective into the tale of a baby-shy husband having a severe mid-life crisis is formally interesting, but the trouble is, Piterbarg's detached, minimalist approach makes it difficult to care about the perfunctory machinations of the otherwise rather boilerplate story. This clinical remove is further compounded by the difficulty of relying on a single actor to convey closely guarded emotional exchanges; Viggo Mortensen (The Prophecy, Eastern Promises) plays both Agustin and Pedro. While he's a capable actor, we don't get much of a sense of what's going on behind his facade in either role. Agustin, in particular, is more caricature than man, an extreme sort of passive-aggressive nightmare husband. If that sort of symbolic reality distortion was at all part of Piterbarg's plan, it doesn't come across anywhere else in the picture; her vision is one of sedate realism within the confines of a story the audience only ever hears one side of. Yes, some men do commit acts of despicable cowardice when faced with mortality, but digging deeper for understanding is a more admirable function of storytelling than simply enforcing one's position. Despite packing some heavy, phallus-reproaching hands, the movie is as hard to dismiss as it is to enjoy, being professionally shot, with a serviceable script and solid cast. But it's also as slow and dry as desultory coitus; Everybody Has a Plan definitely has a specific objective, but achieving it isn't much fun. The DVD comes with no special features. It's doubtful anyone unrelated to the production is upset about this. (Mongrel Media)