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Cassandra's Dream


Stars: Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson

Director: Woody Allen

Harshly described in some quarters as the worst film ever made, this is indeed poor stuff but nowhere near that bad - you could think of dozens worse over the last few decades without too much effort. All the same, this clumsily-scripted urban tragedy from Woody Allen is so outdated that you almost expect to see a bust of Edgar Wallace revolving before the credits.

Yes, parts of this UK-shot enterprise are every bit as stagey as those bad old British B movies of decades ago.

Brothers Ian (McGregor) and Terry (Farrell) club together to buy a boat - the Cassandra's Dream of the title - but are soon in dire need of lots of cash. Compulsive gambler Terry, a garage mechanic, wins 30,000 pounds at cards, but goes back and loses the lot plus 90,000 besides.

Ian, who works in his father's restaurant, acquires an expensive actress girlfriend (Hayley Atwell) and needs money not only for her but for a hotel project he hopes to launch in California.

The answer to both their problems would seem to be rich Uncle Howard (Wilkinson) but, in return, Howard, facing ruin if an employee blows the whistle on some shady dealings, wants the man eliminated. Initially horrified, the brothers soon agree and (after much, much too much screen time) the deed is done. But Terry's conscience (hardly convincing) turns their dreams into a nightmare.

Although it has OK performances in view of an uncomfortably-couched screenplay, this is otherwise much huff and puff about not very much. Cutting might help.

David Quinlan

UK 2007. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour by deluxe.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 18 May 2008