Plan B is another cerebral whodunnit from Argentine director Marco Berger, where the mystery is not stone cold body, but living, breathing sexuality.
Bruno, a long-haired, shaggy long-haired young man played by Manuel Vignau, plans revenge after he is dumped by his girlfriend. His first scheme, plan A, is simply to win her back. This idea is quickly thrown out the window when she explains that although she is happy to periodically sleep with him, a proper relationship is out of the question. Bruno then hatches a more unorthodox second idea, plan B, which involves starting a relationship with his rival, Pablo (Lucas Ferraro, a handsome Gael García Bernal-alike).
This is a route that most blokes probably wouldn’t consider, but then Marco Berger’s films tend to pick over a complex hinterland between gay and straight. Unlike with Absent, where the audience is left guessing as to the nature of the relationship between the two men, in this film we are finally given an answer. However, the route to this finale still keeps us guessing.
Paradoxically, the clear resolution at the end of this film may be less satisfying than the open-ended one in Absent. Rather than letting us construct our own meaning or leaving us to admire the clever way he has left us guessing, Berger lets the cat out of the bag in an almost conventional way. This slight decrease in deftness may be because Plan B was the director’s first feature length film, made two or three years before Absent.
That is not to say that Plan B isn’t intelligent. The film starts off with Bruno looking at his ex, Laura (played by Mercedes Quinteros) and her new lover Pablo as they play with kittens in the park. It is not entirely clear if he is dreaming of her, him or even both of them. The film carries on building up uncertainty about just who Bruno and then Pablo have the hots for.
This brewing romance can appear a little unlikely. The two young men take to sleeping next to each other wearing only their pants. This again is something most straight blokes probably don’t do, although of course this could be because they really are attracted to each other, but have kidded themselves into thinking it’s perfectly natural. Humans have a limitless capacity for self-deception after all. Learning to listen to their big gay hearts is very much the lesson these characters have to learn. It is also true that Argentina is a hotter country than the UK, where perhaps two blokes could habitually sleep in the same bed and watch the telly in their Y-fronts and think nothing of it.
These are minor quibbles, Plan B is clever and engaging. Maybe it could move at a little faster pace, and we could learn more about the characters than simply their relationships to each other, but it shows a film maker on his way to something really good.