Cassandra's Dream (2007)

Director:  Woody Allen
Cast:  Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell
Plot:  The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes.  When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go bad and the two become enemies.

Genre:  Crime / Drama / Thriller
Awards:  -
Runtime:  108min
Rating:  PG for some violence, and some sexual references.

Woody Allen is back in top form.  He writes and directs Cassandra's Dream, a London-based tale of two brothers who are in their mid-twenties, a prime age to seek that golden opportunity in life to be both financially and socially successful. 

Terry (Colin Farrell) gets into a terrible debt through uncontrollable gambling while Ian (Ewan McGregor) desperately needs loads of cash to seal a prospective business deal.  As if answering their prayers, their rich but distant uncle, Howard (Tom Wilkinson), decides to pay the family a visit.

What seems like a joyous family reunion turns out to be more than what the brothers have bargained for.  To get financial help from their uncle, the brothers have to keep him away from a long-term jail sentence.  To do that they have to murder a stranger before he appears in court with solid evidence that will likely bring the curtains down on their uncle's career.

Cassandra's Dream is a film that explores the human psyche and our behavioral responses to situational changes, especially when we are faced with dilemmas, and the stress in dealing with these changes. 

Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor are superb in their roles, though sometimes they lack that brotherly spark.  Supporting actor Tom Wilkinson has a lesser screen time here than in Michael Clayton, but he never fails to make the most out of his role, giving another reliable display of skillful acting.  

With Cassandra's Dream, Woody Allen gives a glimpse of what the legendary Alfred Hitchcock might have done if he were still around today.  Influences from Hitchcock's narrative and filming styles are apparent here.  It's more noticeable in the suspenseful sequences where the brothers are stalking their prey and are aiming for the kill. 

Cassandra's Dream proves that Allen is capable of making a top-notch drama-thriller after establishing himself as a romantic-comedy expert in the late 1970s.  Recommended, and that haunting Philip Glass' score is to die for.

GRADE: A- (8.5/10 or 4 stars)

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