Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cassandra's Dream (2007)


“Being rescued is one of my wicked dreams.”

            Woody Allen has made some of the most unique and iconic movies. Allen is an interesting story teller both with his scripts and his direction. He is most well known for having made Annie Hall and a handful of other comedies. If you know any of Allen’s movies including his newer ones they are light but with a slight touch of darkness or sadness. Since his movies are usually a mix of comedy and drama it is a bit hard to believe that he made a straight up drama or “thriller” as it is described. In 2007 Allen wrote and directed the “thriller” Cassandra’s Dream and deviates away from his normal types of movies.
            Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) are brothers who struggle somewhat financially. Ian likes to believe he is a big time investor in a chain of hotels out in California with a friend and Terry gambles. At the beginning of a story they buy a boat. At first they plan on paying off the boat in installments until Terry wins all the money betting on a dog race. He wants to call the boat Cassandra’s Dream after the dog he won the money off of.
            While playing cards one night Terry wins thirty thousand pounds. Ian begs him not to gamble it all away. He asks his brother to borrow some money along with a sports car from the car shop Terry works at. Ian takes a girl he works with out on a date in the country and as they are driving back he sees a girl pulled over on the side of the road with some car trouble. He turns his car around and helps the girl. Her name is Angela (Hayley Atwell) and to thank him she takes his name down and tells him she is an actress and that he can come backstage to see her after one of her theater shows.
            Terry and his girlfriend Kate look at a house together. The house is expensive but Kate really wants it and believes they can make it work. Terry gets the idea to gamble the thirty thousand pounds to see if he can double it. That falls through and now he owes some loan sharks a lot of money.
            Ian and Terry’s uncle Howard is very rich. He lives in a big house out in Los Angeles and has a ton of great connections. When their mother tells them Howard is coming for a visit, Ian and Terry see this as their opportunity to get some money out of their rich uncle. Howard will give them the money they want but they have to do something for him: He wants them to kill a man who will testify against him for spending his company’s money in a not very good way. Both Terry and Ian are tortured by the idea. Over time and thinking about what it means for him, Ian warms up to the idea of killing the guy to make money especially because he loves Angela and wants to impress her and have her move out to LA with him.
            They are not professionals so the job takes some time getting done. They sneak into the guy’s house to kill him but he was not alone. They finally kill him while he is out for a walk alone in a neighborhood. Terry immediately feels guilty and cannot sleep or function like he used to. Ian thinks about what he has done but that does not matter to him as long as he has the money and the girl.
            Terry unravels so horribly that his health is beginning to suffer. Kate goes to Ian to make him talk to his brother. She asks him to take Terry to a doctor but there is no way Ian will do that because Terry would tell a doctor what happened. While at a party with Angela, someone tells Ian that Terry has showed up. Terry reveals that he wants to kill himself so he will not say anything about the murders and get Ian and Howard into trouble. Ian tells Howard about Terry and Howard says that Terry needs to go and it has to look like an accident.
            To get Terry alone, Ian suggests going out on their boat for a day. While on the boat Ian plans on mixing Terry’s pills with alcohol. That plan does not go well either. Ian makes the deadly mixture but throws it down smashing the bottle and attacks Terry. The fight does not end well for either one of them.
            The cast was very good. It was bit odd to see Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell play brothers. Their pairing looked a little weird but they worked out pretty well together. I cannot lie at all about watching this movie for Hayley Atwell. I am on a kick with her after watching her show Agent Carter and seeing her as Agent Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger. This was Atwell’s first major movie. She was not in the movie very long her parts were short but she was great. Her character was also interesting because she seemed to be using Ian for something yet at the same time she really liked him. Not sure if Woody Allen wrote Angela as a kind of take no shit character or Atwell played her like that but that is how the character came off to me and I liked it.
            Cassandra’s Dream was very different. I would not say it was a thriller it was definitely a drama. Wood Allen created an interesting story with the brothers. It was a story that could have worked in a comedy movie as well. I liked how the brothers and the uncle were all desperate to get something out of someone else. Cassandra’s Dream is not the best Woody Allen movie I have seen so far but it was not terrible. I liked that it was not his typical go to type of story or characters. Cassandra’s Dream is worth seeing at least once.