Friday, January 18, 2008

Cassandra's Dream

“We’re crossing the line Ian; there’s no going back from this, I tell you.”

Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) are brothers living outside their means. Ian has dreams of running hotels in California and a new expensive girlfriend (Hayley Atwell). Terry has a wife (Sally Hawkins) and a sizable gambling debt. Stuck in a situation without any alternatives the brothers reach out to their wealthy Uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson) who agrees to give them the cash they need in exchange for one simple favor - murder a man who is set to testify against him (Philip Davis).

If this sounds familiar you probably saw Sidney Lumet‘s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead released earlier this year which involves a similar tale of brothers in financial difficulty choosing to commit a crime. The film is also very similar to Woody Allen‘s earlier films Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point (read that review) without adding anything new to the equation. The film is well done and the story is engaging enough, but we are constantly noticing we have seen this all done before, and done better.

Much like the new remake of Sleuth this film is more a curiosity than anything else. The only interesting piece of the tale is the casting against type of both McGreggor and Farrell. It’s kind of interesting to watch McGreggor play the hard ass and Farrell play the conscience of the film. Although this makes for a cool acting exercise for both of them it isn’t really enough to carry the film.

Cassandra’s Dream isn’t a bad film, it’s just one that we’ve seen many times before in both story and style. At this time of year it’s hard to find quality movies at the theater and Cassandra’s Dream certainly qualifies as a well-made film. But it doesn’t really qualify as a well-made Woody Allen film. If you’re curious enough give it a try, but otherwise head to the video store and spend a little less on one of his other, better, films.

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