Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CASSANDRA'S DREAM - I see disaster! I see catastrophe! Worse, I see lawyers!

Ooo Betty! The cat's done a whoopsie on the floor!Contemporary London. Two working class brothers need cash desperately. Their successful Uncle Howard offers them a Faustian bargain. If they murder the man who is about to snitch on him, he will give them all the money they need. He couches his request in terms of family loyalty. One of the brothers, Ian, thinks he can pull it off, forget about it and enjoy the cash. The other brother, Terry, is troubled. What if he too turns snitch?

This makes for a promising intellectual thriller. How far would you go to get want you want? Could you really be a cold-blooded killer or would your conscience be troubled? But Woody Allen has nothing interesting or clever to say about these issues. His ethical discussion is trite - and he barely makes his invocation of the greek myth of Cassandra work. Contrast Allen's fatuous moral posturing with the moral profundity of Lumet's BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOUR DEAD.

CASSANDRA'S DREAM fails, then, as a moral treatise. It also fails as entertainment. Where is the bleak, cruel comedy of IN BRUGES? Or Allen's own CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS?

CASSANDRA'S DREAM also fails as a technical exercise. Philip Glass' orchestral score seems tailored to a different film - a costume melodrama perhaps? Vilmos Zsigmond's photography is pedestrian. Ewan McGregor's cockney accent seems like a pastiche of Frank Spencer in British cult comedy SOME MOTHERS DO 'AVE 'EM. Colin Farrell's superb performance is marred by the fact that his thick Irish accent keeps breaking through his Cockney accent. Sally Hawkins - again a brilliant actress - seems to be doing a watered down Poppy from HAPPY-GO-LUCKY. Hayley Atwell and Phil Davies are wasted in smaller roles, although Tom Wilkinson does get a cool cameo as the Machiavellian Uncle Howard. In short, barring Wilkinson, it's all pretty uninspiring.

I'm just a random amateur movie blogger. Woody Allen's a writer-director who has made films that are in the pantheon. So it seems a little arrogant to have written such an excoriating review. One can only hope that the rave reviews of his latest film restore our confidence in him.

CASSANDRA'S DREAM played Venice and Toronto 2007 and was released in 2007 in Spain, France, Greece, Finland, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium and Russsia. It was released earlier in 2008 in the US, Hungary, Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Canada, Italy, Estonia, Israel, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands and Poland. It is currently on release in Brazil and the UK. It opens in Argentina and Germany on June 5th

1 comment:

  1. I like this brog too. By the way, did you intend to satirise yourself through mis-spelling?