I don’t think Cassandra’s Dream is a movie you watch and enjoy, but I got over that qualifier for a movie long before film school; there are quite a few movies that are more than worth seeing but you can’t say they were an enjoyable experience. Cassandra’s Dream is best described as a Greek tragedy or human morality tale, these characters are set on a self destructive path and keep pursuing it because they think there are no other options than simply plowing straight ahead.
In the film Ian & Terry are incredibly close brothers; Terry constantly gets in trouble with gambling and drinking but it otherwise happy with his life, where Ian is being forced into managing the family restaurant and is always dreaming of the bigger and better. However, when Terry becomes in debt over his head to loan sharks, and Ian meets an actress he wants to escape into the Hollywood life with both must ask their uncle for money; their uncle agrees to help them with anything as long as they need it because of their family bond but he also asks for a favor – he needs them to kill an ex-associate.
What I can really say about this movie is that it is well crafted and meticulously planned by Woody Allen; while you know all of his characters are headed for inevitable doom you still are able to connect with them empathetically and want Terry and Ian to be able to dig their way out of their mistakes. Cassandra’s Dream deals with not just the toll taking a life creates in these brothers, but the inner turmoil they experience from the moment they are asked to do it. Allen also does an excellent job juxtaposing the two brothers as each has an incredibly different reaction to the situation they are thrust into.
I am starting to feel that I have a personal preference towards Allen’s comedies, but I do think he makes really good dramas. His dramas tend to be just a bit too heavy for me.
Director & Writer: Woody Allen
Ian: Ewan McGregor
Terry: Colin Farrell
Uncle Howard: Tom Wilkinson