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49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Set in contemporary London, Cassandra's Dream is a powerful and thrilling story about two brothers who are desperate to better their troubled lives. One is a chronic gambler in debt over his head, and the other is a young man in love with a beautiful woman he has recently met. Their lives gradually become entangled in a sinister situation with intense and unfortunate results. (Weinstein Company) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 31
  2. Negative: 6 out of 31
  1. 88
    It's a pulp story pinned to the screen with an ice pick of conscience in a manner that would have pleased Allen's idol, Ingmar Bergman.
  2. Allen's latest, Cassandra's Dream, is one of his debonair ''small'' entertainments, the closest that he has come to doing a tidy, no-frills, down-and-dirty genre thriller.
  3. 70
    Ewan McGregor’s bright-eyed Ian, following in the footsteps of characters in Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point,” is a study in guilt-free violence. But Colin Farrell’s Terry is something new. Terry is a decent guy with many weaknesses, and, after the crime is committed, Farrell gives him a piteous self-loathing that is very touching.
  4. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    50
    Feels like one of Allen's laziest pieces of writing and direction, leaden with heavy metaphor and characters who rarely make it beyond the archetype--marionettes in a miserablist puppet theater.
  5. The Coen brothers might have pulled this off, but it's out of Allen's faltering reach.
  6. Allen's latest, his 42nd effort as a director, is the work of an artist devoid of ideas and energy. Perfunctorily staged and lazily written, it comes to life in only the briefest of spurts, usually when the ever-reliable Tom Wilkinson is on-screen.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric Alt
    25
    Takes a long time to say nothing new, which is a shame because it wastes fine performances across the board (it's a nice reminder that Farrell, can, in fact, act), and, well, a really effective score by Philip Glass.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. JensenD.
    Jan 21, 2008
    10
    This is definitely the best movie that I have seen in some time. The middle class setting is much more realistic than most of Woody Allen's settings, and the acting is first rate. The film is a morality tale, and its themes stayed with me long after the closing credits. In brief:: one of Woody's best! Expand
  2. biffj
    Jan 18, 2008
    10
    It's much better than the critics are telling you.
  3. Aug 25, 2014
    9
    A steady, captivating movie. There is no dizzying action, explotions, or dazzling special effects, but the movie manages to be one of the best I've watched recently.

    The characters are introduced well, as are their lives and patterns. They grow thorough the movie - especially the brothers Terry (Farrell) and Ian (McGregor). In the beginning the first is a gambling man living on his luck, while the latter dreams big but it keeping his feet safely on the ground.

    When the game gets tough, though, it is almost surprising who is going to grow a conscience, and who will bury their fellow men for their dreams.

    Drama, love between brothers and family, and dreams close to coming true mingle in this film. Blood is thicker than water, they say; family is everything, they say here. 'How far; how long; how deep?', I ask.

    I loved the ending, especially. After all the drama and hard (impossible) decisions, it all comes down into such basic things. Our big struggles in life are such a small thing in the eyes of the world.
    Expand
  4. CarlG
    Jan 15, 2008
    8
    Allen back in Match Point territory, though not quite as successful this time around. Some dark humor elements and some quite suspenseful moments reveal Woody is turning into something of a master of a suspenseful scene in his old age. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Feb 3, 2008
    7
    "Cassandra's Dream" may be set in England, but some of its characters, you could argue, have a New York-state-of-mind. Just like people who say they were born into the wrong family; Ian(Ewan McGregor) and Angela(Hayley Atwell) strike me as sophisticates who somehow ended up in a Mike Leigh film. Even though Ian and Angela belong to the same working class as Terry(Colin Farrell) and Kate(Sally Hawkins), they're just conspicuously better looking, and more refined than Ian's brother and girlfriend. Like many New Yorkers, the handsome couple are planning a move to California. Even though "Cassandra's Dream" seems to mark a departure from this filmmaker's fascination with the middle-upper class, he's far from being a humane filmmaker like Leigh, or Ken Loach. Although Ian is comparatively amoral when sized-up against his tortured brother, he one-ups Terry when push comes to shove, because the favorite son has so much more at stake. Ian, to my utter disbelief, ends up being more altruistic than Terry. Ian's actions goes against the grain of the film's rhetoric, which convinces us that Terry needs to be dealt with by any means necessary. Because rhetoric in the filmic world differs from its real-life counterpart. Since nobody can get hurt from a vicarious thrill, we engage our loyalties with people from the wrong side of the law, and root for their clean getaway. Ian & Terry are no different than, say, Bonnie & Clyde, but with a difference. The brothers, unlike the fugitive lovers from the 1967 Arthur Penn film, have a caste system in place. They're not treated as equals. "Cassandra's Dream", inadvertently, says a lot about this filmmaker, whom we've always suspected was filled with contempt for the proletariat. Ian's redemption at the end of "Cassandra's Dream" is proof of an inherent Manhattan haughtiness that puts a damper, but doesn't quite cancel out the film's many strengths. But make no mistake, there is a class-warfare subtext at play here. Expand
  6. RyanS.
    Jan 20, 2008
    7
    It wasn't awful, at least. I think this would have made a better book, honestly - it reflects Macbeth rather nicely. But some of the lines were a but overdone, and Allen could have put forward the cyclical nature a bit more. Expand
  7. CraigG.
    Nov 8, 2008
    1
    Quite possibly one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. However I was so morbidly fascinated that I watched it all the way through on DVD to see how bad it could get. Poor script, poorly delivered by people who should have known better. The dramatic moments were quite funny. It looked like a TV soap opera gone wrong. And when lines were fluffed, why didnt the director say Cut and do it again? Redeeming features are few but some of the settings were quite pretty and the old Jaguar cars were nice too but I still couldnt see their purpose _ a bit of window dressing I suppose. And where did the boys' parents go after the dastardly deed was done? Not a word from them as the film grinds to a close. In short contrived and awful. Cassandra's dream should be Woody's nightmare. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews

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