Only Viggo Mortensen’s most rabid fans, and maybe people who stumbled onto his Wikipedia page while really bored, are likely aware that the actor spent much of his childhood living in Argentina, where he became fluent in Spanish. That explains his unlikely presence in the Argentine thriller Everybody Has A Plan, in which he plays the most lackluster pair of identical twins the movies have ever conceived. No matter how stupid or unimaginative an identical-twin story may be, it usually at least provides the lead actor with ample opportunity to demonstrate his range. Here, Mortensen (who also produced) makes both of his characters as one-dimensionally brooding as possible, which may be more realistic—they are “the same person,” after all—but doesn’t exactly set pulses racing as this low-octane tale idles away two hours.
It’s not as if Agustín (Mortensen) and Pedro (Mortensen again!) have followed similar paths in life. The former, married and planning to adopt a child, lives on the mainland, where he has a medical practice; the latter, who’s returned to the tiny island where they both grew up, ostensibly works as a beekeeper but makes most of his cash as the muscle in a kidnapping outfit. When Pedro, who’s sick enough to be coughing up blood on a regular basis, visits the unhappy Agustín, who wants out of his marriage and his sterile adult life, a shocking development finds Agustín usurping Pedro’s identity and heading back to the island, unaware of how deeply his brother is involved in criminal activity, including a recent murder. And Pedro’s evil partner (Daniel Fanego), who’s known the twins since childhood, isn’t fooled for a second.
That’s more than enough intrigue to fuel a tense, devious thriller, but first-time writer-director Ana Piterbarg does virtually nothing with the scenario apart from present it. “What are you going to do?” Agustín fearfully asks his wife (Soledad Villamil) early on, after she goes to see Pedro and immediately recognizes who’s actually wearing those scruffy workman’s clothes; her answer should have been, “I’m going to disappear from the movie now, never to be seen or even mentioned in passing again.” Agustín-as-Pedro’s interactions with the pretty young woman (Sofía Gala) who helps with Pedro’s bees is likewise fraught with absolutely nothing, even after she finds photographic evidence of the other twin’s existence. Apart from the novelty of seeing Mortensen act in Spanish, there’s virtually nothing of interest, and even he does little more than confirm that a performance can be monosyllabic in any language.