Even in middling form, Woody Allen still knows how to get a few licks in. Set in London, which energized his Match Point in 2005, Cassandra's Dream finds the Woodman mucking about in the moral quicksand of one of his best films, 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors. Two Cockney brothers, Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell), are contemplating murder. Ian wants to dump the restaurant he runs with dear old dad and take off for Hollywood with wanna-be actress Angela (Hayley Atwell, a pale shadow in the role Scarlett Johansson played to an erotic turn in Match Point). Terry bought a boat, Cassandra's Dream, with his winnings from a dog race, but now he's back in debt, and loan sharks are advancing on his ass looking for paybacke can't squeeze out of his earnings as a mechanic. Enter rich old Uncle Howard (the reliably flawless Tom Wilkinson) with a deal: If the boys will off his business enemy, Martin Burns (Phil Davis), they'll have enough money to follow their dreams. McGregor and especially Farrell bring genuinemotional commitment to their roles, especially on a long walk where they convince themselves that the unthinkable is doable. But Allen, who stays behind the camera, brings too little wit and too much contrivance to material that quickly dissolves into warmed-over Dostoevski.
From The Archives Issue 119: October 12, 1972