How do you compete with the greats when you probably aren't one yourself? That's the dilemma facing the hero of Álvaro Brechner's comedy Mr. Kaplan. Jacob Kaplan (Héctor Noguera) has lived in Uruguay since fleeing the Nazis as a teenager. Now pushing 76, and haunted by the fact that Goethe published Faust at 31 and Churchill began his second term as prime minister at 77 (but taking some solace in the fact Abraham was in his eighties when God finally spoke to him), Jacob gives himself a mission -- one involving an elderly German man the local kids call "The Nazi" (Rolf Becker), who may or may not be an actual fugitive war criminal.
Enlisting the aid of slobbish but big-hearted former cop Contreras (Néstor Guzzini), Jacob decides to get his Wiesenthal on by concocting a plan to kidnap the German and deliver him to Israel to stand trial like Eichmann -- never mind the fact that Jacob's license has been revoked for poor eyesight. Mr. Kaplan is both an occasionally tense thriller and a rumination on the difficulty of living up to expectations, both real and imagined, compounded by decades-long survivor guilt. But it's also a very funny buddy comedy between Jacob and Contreras, which may be the best way to approach such dark material.
Alvaro BrechnerHector Noguera, Nestor Guzzini, Rolf Becker, Nidia Telles, Nuria Flo, Leonor Svarcas, Gustavo Saffores, Hugo Piccinini, Cesar Jourdan, Jorge BolaniAlvaro BrechnerMenemsha Films