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With: Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Hayley Atwell, Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins, Clare Higgins, John Benfield, Philip Davis
Written by: Woody Allen
Directed by: Woody Allen
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexual material and brief violence
Running Time: 108
Date: 06/18/2007

Cassandra's Dream (2007)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Rocking the Boat

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream is a surprisingly solid, expertly constructed crime drama. It's the 72 year-old director's third British-located film, still curious about the themes that bubbled through Match Point (2005) as well as his masterpiece Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell are both superb as working class London brothers; their mother regularly glorifies her wealthy brother and criticizes their struggling father. Ian (McGregor) meets a glamorous actress (stunning newcomer Hayley Atwell) and dreams of climbing out of his father's failing restaurant business. Mechanic Terry (Farrell) wishes to pay off a huge gambling debt. So when they approach their uncle (Tom Wilkinson) for cash, he asks a favor in return: knock off a business associate who plans to testify against him. It's a fairly simple setup, old-fashioned even, like the old black-and-white Hollywood films Allen's characters are always going to see. Even Allen's dialogue is more intuitive and relaxed than it has been in a long while. Except for small details, Allen glosses over the criminal activities in favor of exploring the brothers' emotional torment and complex, churning relationship. For the most part, Ian is terrifyingly at ease while Terry goes to pieces; their mood swings and general unease creates an atmosphere of delicious tension. The title comes from a lucky dog race winner, whose name graces a sailboat the brothers have bought together. Like its namesake, Cassandra's Dream is indeed a trim little vessel. (Please also see my longer and much more coherent review at

DVD Details: The Weinstein Company has released a no frills DVD with no extras, but at a regular price (about $25). This poor, misunderstood movie deserved better, and at the very least it deserved a second chance with a halfway decent DVD package. Cassandra's Dream

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