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CASSANDRA'S DREAM: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) are brothers with increasing monetary needs. Terry hopes to buy a house with girlfriend Kate (Sally Hawkins), but has mounting gambling debts, while Ian needs cash to fulfill his dreams of going to California with his new actress girlfriend Angela (Hayley Atwell). In desperation they ask their wealthy Uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson) for help, who promises everything they want - but there's a catch. They must 'eliminate' a former colleague who has the potential to ruin him.

Review by Louise Keller:
If Match Point was a return for Woody Allen to darker material like his marvellous Crimes and Misdemeanours, Cassandra's Dream is one step even closer. The writing is terrific as are the performances by Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor who play brothers with dreams beyond their means. Australian audiences missed out when the film was pulled from its theatrical release, but now, as it is released on DVD, there's a chance to see Allen's gripping and intriguing psychological thriller about sex, money and murder as it canvasses morality, conscience and dreams.

Ain't life grand, McGregor's Ian exclaims to brother Terry (Farrell), when they take their newly acquired second hand sailing boat Cassandra's Dream on the water for the first time. A light-hearted banter follows in which they laugh at the fact it was Bonnie and Clyde who had also made that observation 'and look what happened to them!' With its perfectly constructed screenplay, Allen lures us into the world and lives of the two brothers who both seem unable to get ahead. Farrell embodies Terry, the compulsive gambler with the sweet disposition, while McGregor puts a handle on Ian who aspires to everything beyond him, including his blatantly ambitious actress girlfriend Angela (Hayley Atwell). Desperation leads them to Tom Wilkinson's Uncle Howard and Wilkinson is meticulous in creating a wonderful balance between the successful wealthy businessman juggling his plastic surgery clinics, and a desperate man teetering on the brink. It's after lunch at Claridges that Uncle Howard drops the bombshell, when the favour he asks in return involves killing a man. 'Family loyalty cuts both ways; you didn't question my ethics when you wanted something from me'.

Tension starts to build and it is disquieting to listen to Ian and Terry talking over a beer about how they can 'do the job'. Niggling doubt, conscience and guilt creep in, especially for Terry; Ian is matter of fact. Throughout is Philip Glass's tense score, which escalates in intensity as unforeseen circumstances and delays occur. 'Will they or won't they?' The film's highlight is the dense relationship between McGregor and Farrell as they tussle through their conscience as they weigh up the consequences. We are kept hanging right up to the very end, the tension almost unbearable as more and more tough decisions have to be made.

Published September 4, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CASSANDRA'S DREAM: DVD (M)
(USA/UK/France, 2007)

CAST: Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Peter-Hugo Daly, John Benfield, Clare Higgins, Ashley Madekwe, Andrew Howard, Hayley Atwell, Sally Hawkins

PRODUCER: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Gareth Wiley

DIRECTOR: Woody Allen

SCRIPT: Woody Allen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Vilmos Zsigmond

EDITOR: Alisa Lepselter

MUSIC: Philip Glass

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maria Djurkovic

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: none

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: September 4, 2008







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