Cassandra's Dream (PG-13)

Drama 105 January 18, 2008
By Scott Foundas
Woody Allen's third film made on location in London adheres fairly closely to the template of the first, 2005's Match Point, in which an ambitious young tennis pro refused to let a little thing like murder slow down his rapid ascent of the British class system. This time, Allen gives us not one but two kids from the wrong side of the Thames — brothers Terry (Colin Farrell) and Ian (Ewan McGregor), each of them stuck in a dead-end job and longing for the good life. Enter the brothers' wealthy plastic-surgeon uncle (Tom Wilkinson), who says he'll be happy to shore up his nephews' finances, provided they do him one small favor in return: get rid of a former colleague about to give incriminating testimony against him in some sketchily-defined investigation. Though the thorny moral dilemma at its center is vintage Allen, Cassandra's Dream is one of the 72-year-old auteur's laziest pieces of writing and direction, heavy with metaphor and characters who rarely make it beyond archetype. The pleasures are few and strictly incidental, including Farrell, who plays his one-dimensional character with an affecting mixture of boyish naivete and tragic inevitability; and the newcomer Hayley Atwell (as McGregor's actress girlfriend), whom Allen films as rhapsodically as he did Scarlett Johansson, and whose husky voice similarly ripples with unquenched desire.
Woody Allen Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins, Hayley Atwell, Tamzin Outhwaite, Mark Umbers Woody Allen Vincent Maraval The Weinstein Co.

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