Cassandra's Dream

Directed by Woody Allen (Seville)

"Ain't life grand!" declares gambler Terry (Colin Farrell), enjoying a day on the lake with his brother Ian (Ewan McGregor), an aspiring businessman, early on in Woody Allen's not very subtle, kinda pretentious Cassandra's Dream. "You know what that's from?" Terry continues. "Bonnie and Clyde...two Barrow Brothers are having a fine time, and Clyde says, 'Ain't life grand.'" Offers Ian, joking: "You know what happened to them!"

It's inevitable that Terry's gambling will get him into trouble, and that Ian's ambition makes him covet a life beyond his means---and unsurprising that the boys' rich uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson), spoken of reverently in the first quarter of the movie, turns out to be an unsavory character who wants his nephews to commit murder in exchange for his cash and support. Predictable fall-out ensues, as Terry becomes guilt-ridden. Imagine Farrell's character Ray, from In Bruges, but drained of all the wit, charm and nuance that made you care about his plight in that film. Apparently, Allen decided that guilt and a zest for gambling were character-defining enough. Maybe if the guy wasn't busy trying to churn out 82 movies a year, he might've had time to make this weak old-school tragedy worthwhile.

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