Directed by: Woody Allen
Written by: Woody Allen
Produced by: Gareth Wiley, Stephen Tenenbaum , Letty Aronson
Other cast: Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Ashley Madekwe, Sally Hawkins
Release date: 18 January 2008 (USA)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
Running time: 1h 48min
The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes. When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go badly and the two become enemies.
Synopsis (Warning: contains spoilers!)
British brothers Terry (Farrell) and Ian (McGregor), who live in South London, were raised by a weak father (John Benfield) who runs a restaurant, and a strong mother (Clare Higgins) who taught her sons to look up to their uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson), a successful businessman.
Both brothers decide to buy a sailboat which they name Cassandra’s Dream, after the horse that won the race in which Terry earned the money to buy the boat. Knowing nothing of Greek Mythology, they are unaware of the ominous antecedants of this name – the ancient prophetess Cassandra, whose prophesies of doom went unheeded by those around her.
After a day sailing with their current girlfriends and while driving back home in a borrowed Jaguar XK150, Ian crosses paths with beautiful actress Angela Stark (Hayley Atwell), with whom he falls in love.
The brothers’ financial difficulties — Terry has a gambling problem, while Ian wishes to invest in hotels in California — lead them to think about asking for Howard’s help. Uncle Howard supposedly comes to London to celebrate his sister’s birthday, but when the two brothers ask for his financial help, he reveals a more sinister motive. He admits that he is about to go to jail because of accusations coming from Martin Burns, a business partner who plans to testify against him, and asks his two nephews if they can help to get rid of him. After initial reluctance, the two brothers agree.
They make two working zip guns from metal and wood, allowing them to burn them afterwards. In an initial attempt they wait in Burns’s home; unexpectedly he is accompanied by a woman. Panicked, they leave and agree to commit the murder the next day.
In the next attempt they succeed in carrying out the murder uncaught, and burn the guns. Ian is content to move on as if nothing happened, but Terry is consumed by guilt and begins abusing alcohol and pills. This frightens his girlfriend (Sally Hawkins), who meets Ian to tell him about the situation, mentioning to him that Terry believes he has killed someone. Terry’s behavior begins to get out of control, thus terrifying Ian. After Terry confides to his brother that he’s thinking about turning himself in to the police, Ian goes to Howard for advice. Together, they agree there is no other alternative but to get rid of Terry. Ian then plans to poison Terry during a trip on the boat. In the end, however, Ian can’t bring himself to kill Terry. In a fit of rage, they tussle aboard the boat. In the chaos, Terry knocks Ian against the hull and kills him. Terry, who was already suicidal, snaps and drowns himself.
- Unusually for a Woody Allen film, the music is provided by a composer – in this case, Philip Glass – instead of being a collection of old standards.
- First theatrical film appearance of Hayley Atwell.
- Originally this was scheduled to open in late 2007 to qualify for Academy Award consideration. After some indifferent previews however, it was given a January 2008 release, traditionally the dumping ground for bad films.
- The London restaurant Claridges, referred to several times and featured in the movie, is owned by chef Gordon Ramsay of television fame.
Ian: Would you sleep with a director to get a part?
Angela: Well, that depends on the part, and who the director is, and how much I’d had to drink.
Ian: It’s not a very comforting answer.
Angela: I didn’t like the question.
Kate: Aw… I like that. What do you think?
Kate: I would look good in that.
Angela: Yeah, Terry would love that.
Kate: Would he?
Angela: Yeah, men love that sort of shape. I wore something similar when Ian first saw me.
Ian: I know what’s in his mind.
Angela: Ian, I don’t affect everyone the way that I affect you. If I did, my career would have taken off a long time ago.
On September 2, 2007, Hayley starting promoting ‘Cassandra’s Dream’ at the 64th Venice Film Festival in Italy. Alongside director Woody Allen and co-stars Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor (among others) , she attended the movie’s photocall and press conference, followed by the premiere. On September 10, she attended the 32nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival, where the movie was presented.
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