Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cassandra’s Dream: We’ve Got to Survive

Woody Allen’s most interesting films are often the ones he’s not in. “Different” would be another way of describing it – they become less Woody Allen monologues and more actual movies. When Allen is onscreen, he dominates. Even Diane Keaton can barely get a word in edgewise.

One of his latest efforts, Cassandra’s Dream, is the conspicuously Allen-less story of two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor) who get themselves in a bind. Ian (McGregor) is the more successful and scheming of the two, while Terry (Farrell) is more simple-minded and content with his mediocre position in life. But when Terry gets himself neck-deep in debt, he has no choice but to turn to the boys’ rich uncle, Howard (Tom Wilkinson). Howard, as always, is happy to help. But this time, he needs a favor.

If you’ve seen many of Woody Allen’s films, especially the ones he’s not in, you can see where this is going.

Uncle Howard is, of course, in trouble with the law. He needs one of his business associates “taken care of” to make sure that he doesn’t go to the police. Ian, self-centered as usual, sees the potential benefits in having Howard indebted to them forever. Terry is more hesitant.

Ian has big dreams of owning hotels in California, while Terry has big dreams of not getting his knees broken by loan sharks. But Terry would rather roll over and take what’s coming to him, something Ian simply won’t let happen. Between the two of them, they scheme and devise a plan that will take care of Uncle Howard’s problem. But at what cost?

Cassandra’s Dream is all about how life can spiral out of your control, and the lengths to which certain people are willing to go to get a grip. All the actors display painfully real and nerve-wracking emotions, particularly the wonderful Wilkinson in his relatively small role.

Ultimately, like many of his other films, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream asks you to ponder: how far would you go to save your own life?


Cassandra’s Dream Trailer:

Rotten Tomatoes .:. Wikipedia .:. IMDB