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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Match Point re-made with a Macbeth split in two

This is a review of Cassandra's Dream (2007)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

2 November (watched on DVD)

This is a review of Cassandra's Dream (2007)
* Contains spoilers *

It was highly commercially successful, but that fact provides me with no reason to have liked Match Point (2005), whose flaws outweighed the Dostoyevskyian tones that it brought to re-entering the territory of Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989).

By contrast, I believe that Cassandra's Dream (2007) is not merely leaps, but bounds, ahead, and cannot relate to the admittedly many critics who pan this later film, thinking it a falling-off of quality from what I do not detect in the earlier film : it is not merely that we are willing Jonathan Rhys Meyers (as the Raskolnikov-like Chris Wilton) to get caught, but - despite Allen's valiant attempt at a plot with a twist - he would have done, and he failed to command my attention in the way that Martin Landau does (as Judah Rosenthal) sixteen years earlier.

Dream gives me many more things to like - Sally Hawkins as the older (?) brother Terry's (Colin Farrell's) wife Kate, a convincing portrayal of mental ill-health and of addictive gambling, the allure of Angela (Hayley Atwell) as the other brother Ian's (Ewan McGregor's) girlfriend and his vaulting, reckless ambition, a soundtrack by Philip Glass, a creepy, self-obsessed Tom Wilkinson (as Uncle Howard)...

A perfect crime to do the generous Uncle Howard a favour (generous, but at whose cost ?), but, just as Wilton is under the pressure of denying the voices of his victims in the night, it is really all too much, and what one has steeled oneself to (and still nearly does not do) will not allow one to rest : the two parts of the Macbethean psyche are divided against each other, and one seeks survival at the other's expense.

What the brothers wanted and gambled for they find themselves having never valued very much when the time comes, and, just as they did not heed Cassandra at the outset, so they do not at the close. The words of Uncle Howard, differently meant, could almost be hovering on the air :

In the end, all you have in this life that you can count on is family

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

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