When Bruno sees his ex-girlfriend Ana with her new boyfriend, Pablo, he decides he wants her back, even though she only seems interested in occasional sex sessions. Realising the usual tactics won’t work to convince her – he comes up with a Plan B. He’s heard Pablo has had liaisons with guys, so Bruno determines that he’ll befriend Pablo without letting him know who he is, and then make him fall in love with him. Then, after this causes Pablo and Ana to break up, he can swoop in and be her knight in shining armour when she’s sad and lonely.
Admittedly it is the sort of plan that could go hideously wrong at any moment, but he manages to meet and get in with Pablo, convincing him that he’s not the guy Ana has a picture of on her wall. However while Bruno is convinced he’s being devious and clever, something happens that he never expected; he starts having genuine feelings for Pablo.
Plan B is a wonderful little movie from Argentina, helped enormously by strong performances from lead actors Manuel Vignau and Lucas Ferraro, who do a great job of portraying the mix of bravado, over self-confidence and vulnerability that are part of many men’s lives. Manuel Vignau as Bruno is particularly good, taking what could have seemed a rather unpleasant character and turning him into someone complex and empathetic.
It’s a film that could easily have fallen flat on its face as there are numerous points of the story that stretch credulity. Probably the biggest of these is whether sexuality is as fungible as it’s presented here – would a man who hasn’t even hinted that he’s ever had a gay thought suddenly fall in love with a guy? It’s possible, but it does seem unlikely. However it doesn’t matter due to director Marco Berger constantly asking us to question what we’re seeing. There’s a lot of silence and people looking around in the film, with the blankness filled by the audience’s own thought. So while your first reaction to certain things in the movie may be that you’re not sure if it would ever happen, asking those questions is almost the point.
It’s testing the boundaries of sexuality and asking you to question what you’re seeing. As a viewer you end up considering the circumstances where a man who isn’t gay would fall in love with a man. Could it just happen randomly? Does he know he’s gay but in denial? Is his love for Pablo a one-off that he’d never feel for any other guy? Is the fact he came up with the ‘Plan B’ in the first place evidence he is at least subconsciously interested in guys? The film doesn’t hold your hand and provide the answers, but it does leave the gaps for you to engage with what you’re seeing. In fact leaving those gaps is an impressive trick, as there are quite a few things that in a lesser movie would seem silly, but which here almost become strengths due to the way it asks the viewer to put themselves in the characters’ shoes.
Admittedly the ending does seem to happen a bit fast, but other than that, Plan B is a real charmer.
Plan B is currently available on DVD and will be released as part of a ‘Made In Argentina’ set with Marco Berger’s new film, Absent, on April 9th, 2012.
Overall Verdict: Although the plot could have seemed a bit daft, by allowing the characters space to breathe, Plan B ends up as charming, sweet and rather thought provoking film.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac