6.5/10
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2 user 47 critic

Mr. Kaplan (2014)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 6 August 2014 (Uruguay)
After fleeing Europe for Uruguay during WWII, Jacob Kaplan built a quiet life. Now 76, he begins to question his worth. After learning of a mysterious German prowling the shores of a nearby... See full summary »

Director:

Álvaro Brechner
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13 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Héctor Noguera ... Jacobo Kaplan
Néstor Guzzini Néstor Guzzini ... Wilson Contreras
Rolf Becker ... Julius Reich, The German
Nidia Telles Nidia Telles ... Rebeca Kaplan
Nuria Fló Nuria Fló ... Lottie
Leonor Svarcas Leonor Svarcas ... Estrella
Gustavo Saffores Gustavo Saffores ... Isaac Kaplan
Hugo Piccinini Hugo Piccinini ... Elias
Cesar Jourdan Cesar Jourdan ... Carlos
Jorge Bolani Jorge Bolani ... Kilgman
Augusto Mazzarelli Augusto Mazzarelli ... Weinstein
Adela Dubrá Adela Dubrá ... Sheila
Roberto Suárez Roberto Suárez ... Ernesto
Anouk Ogueta ... Mimi Weinstein
Gabriel Kaplan ... Lejman
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Storyline

After fleeing Europe for Uruguay during WWII, Jacob Kaplan built a quiet life. Now 76, he begins to question his worth. After learning of a mysterious German prowling the shores of a nearby beach, he becomes convinced that he's found a Nazi in hiding and plans to expose him. Expertly distilling a potent mixture of emotional depth and deadpan comedy, Mr. Kaplan is a vivacious meditation on family, aging, and the drive for significance. Written by Brock Pace

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Spain | Uruguay | Germany

Language:

Spanish | Yiddish

Release Date:

6 August 2014 (Uruguay) See more »

Also Known As:

Kaplan See more »

Filming Locations:

Montevideo, Uruguay

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Uruguay to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015. See more »

Goofs

While the german is on the ship's deck unconscious and handcuffed, scenes with him in full sun and in shadow, alternate. See more »

Soundtracks

Surf Report
by Al Gross and Pete Surdoval
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User Reviews

 
Uruguay's Oscar submission is fun and thoughtful on the values of past and purpose.
4 October 2014 | by Sergeant_TibbsSee all my reviews

Uruguay's submission for Best Foreign Language Film Mr. Kaplan is certainly a treat for any ticket holders. It's a film that takes itself seriously enough to have weight and depth to its characters and themes, but not seriously enough to still have fun while doing it. After all, the plot is about two men; one an ageing Jew in an existential crisis and the other a defeated but kind-hearted ex-cop and their plot to kidnap an escaped Nazi putting him to trial in Israel for his past crimes. It examines the value of this salvation and confronts the demons that haunt our past.

With director Álvaro Brechner's pair of bumbling amateur detectives, Mr. Kaplan feels Alexander Payne-esque with its quirky but grounded sense of humour and a human substance to a slick cinematic style. That's the balancing act that the film achieves that makes it a cut above the rest. It bounces between the two key characters and its main plot with ease, slowly developing and progressing their motivations. While setbacks in other films can feel unsatisfying, Mr. Kaplan makes those stalling moments feel essential to creating a richer more meaningful picture.

However, it's more sprightly than Payne's work, and delightfully so. It's unafraid to break rules as a homage to Western showdown demonstrates the friction between its protagonist and antagonist, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet type montages deliver colorful exposition. Fortunately, it never feels indulgent, and that's thanks to how it always brings up the profound ideas on the meaning of our lives during the farce. What is a life well lived? What if the thing we were meant to do with our lives was in our final years? It's almost a comforting idea.

Héctor Noguera's titular protagonist Jacob Kaplan gives a great nuanced and sympathetic performance despite the character's suspicious and mean-spirited nature. Although he's motivated by a vague vengeance, his compassion for others show the human beneath. However, the film's most valuable player is Néstor Guzzini as Contreras, Kaplan's partner in his mission and chauffeur. Guzzini brings a gentle and tender weight to a character downtrodden too often and makes it easy to invest in his plight. They make a wonderful twosome, both in their comic and tragic moments.

Sometimes the film can feel too silly as it reaches for obvious gags, but most of the humour is natural and dry. While its final stretches are quite rocky compared to the rest, it recovers nicely and justifies itself in a quietly poignant way. It's a really attractive and finely produced film with sizzling blues and golds in the photography, particularly at the very tempting beaches. I would not be surprised to see it up on the Kodak theatre podium beating this year's popular grittier contenders based on how easy and rewarding Mr. Kaplan is to watch. I'd be cheering for it anyhow.

8/10

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