the fresh films reviews

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Cassandra's Dream (2007)

Woody Allen
Cassandra's Dream
108 minutes
Letty Aronson
Stephen Tenenbaum
Gareth Wiley
Woody Allen

Cast includes:

Ian Ewan McGregor
Terry Colin Farrell
Uncle Howard Tom Wilkinson
Father John Benfield
Mother Clare Higgins
Lucy Ashley Madewke
Kate Sally Hawkins
Martin Burns Philip Davies
Angela Stark Hayley Atwell



Woody Allen's later films resemble some of the films Hitchcock made that aren't quite considered among his masterpieces, such as Rope, Dial M for Murder or even Frenzy - they have the same strengths and weaknesses, and largely discuss the same issues. Cassandra's Dream is another example of Allen's growing fascination for the crime genre. And for Britain.

As with Match Point, the film is set in England. The difference is that we this time hook up with working class people. That is ostensibly refreshing for an Allen movie, but don't for one second believe that the characters in Cassandra's Dream are more rooted in England of 2007 than in Allen's well-established universe. The same problems circulate here that were apparent with Match Point: dated dialogue, staged scenarios and faltering technicalities. But once you have forgotten about the first, stepped into the confines of the second and learned to overlook the third, Woody Allen will once again present us with brilliantly beguiling intrigues, a well of suspense, and some quite potent discussions about morals and ethics.

Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell play two brothers with similar life situations but different aspirations. The first is a dreamer and desperately wants to be a big fish. The second is a gambler who has a knack for getting himself into trouble. Together they are asked to do their wealthy uncle (the ever brilliant Tom Wilkinson) a life-altering favour when they ask him for substantial sums of money.

Woody Allen once again demonstrates how delicately he can pen a story full of intrigue and different points of view. In its best scenes, Cassandra's Dream has Hitchcockesque quality, but this is not a consistent trait. Unfortunately, haste still makes waste, and in some of the more straightforward everyday scenes, it seems Allen didn't have time to wrap them up before moving on to the next. This affects the overall impression of the film, but it doesn't diminish the fine character drama involved. McGregor and Farrell play well off of each other, and both show an interesting development - each in his own direction - before the film's ending leaves us feeling adequately ambivalent in our seats.

Copyright 12.2.2008 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang