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[I return momentarily with reviews of a few movies that opened today.]

Cassandra’s Dream, Woody Allen’s latest film, is not up to par with his most recent great film (Match Point), but it has more substance than most of the films that he’s made in the past ten years.

Terry (Colin Farrell) and Ian (Ewan McGregor) are two British brothers who aspire to be like their millionaire uncle (Tom Wilkinson): rich, classy, powerful. However, they have trouble with money (they gamble by way of cards or business investments in an attempt to get-rich-quick), and we see how far these two are willing to go in order to make their dreams of money come true.

In one of the first scenes, they buy a boat together, the name of which is the same as the film’s title. We see them falter again and again throughout the movie because they mistake the symbol (the boat) for what the actual goal is (success). Even though success would mean that they could afford the object, they mistakenly just cut to the chase and assume that success comes with it. However, the opposite is true: first you get success, then you get the boat.

Even though there are some moments of crime and violence (and the marketing angles the film as a thriller), Cassandra’s Dream is more focused on how these two money-hungry men, as the story goes on, become more and more primitive in the name of the dollar (I mean, the pound). While the storyline sounds like a commonly recycled formula, there’s a core deep inside this story. Terry and Ian fall not simply because they are bad guys but because of human nature, which is much more affecting and even a little disturbing.

I’m not an Allen apologist (most of his recent work, admittedly, has sucked terribly), but maybe I liked this only because I wanted to like it so much. Cassandra’s Dream isn’t so awesome that even those going into with a bad attitude will like it. The movie does have a generic skeleton, but there’s a bit more meat on its bones. After all, of all the movies opening this week, this is the best of the bunch.

Rating: 7/10

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