Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 June 2008

Oh, Woody.

I dreamed about my old job at the airport last night and my old boss the CEO. This probably has to do with me worrying about money and wishing that I were still making lots of it (comparatively) instead of working for pennies at Florida State. I miss the job itself, too, actually.

Yesterday I watched Woody Allen's first 2008 film (the second one is called Vicky Christina Barcelona and will be out later in the year). This first one is called Cassandra's Dream, which is the name of a boat in the movie, but is, of course, a reference to the mythological Greek character Cassandra and her dream of the destruction of Troy, which is ignored by everyone else in the city. There are only a couple other references to ancient Greece in the film, but it is structured like one of the old plays and so the title fits rather well.

I liked Cassandra's Dream or, rather, I wanted to like Cassandra's Dream, but it doesn't work. This is because it thinks it is a suspense film à la Match Point, but it isn't a suspense film at all. What the movie could have been is a really interesting character study. Cassandra's Dream focuses around two brothers: Colin Farrell (love him) and Ewan MacGregor (love him, too), their financial difficulties, and the murder they eventually decide to commit in order to help themselves out of their financial difficulties. MacGregor's character is fine with the murder, it upsets him slightly, but he focuses on the future and lets it go. Farrell's character is affected deeply by the murder and becomes depressed, irrational, uncontainable. You can probably guess where this is all headed and the movie (up until the very last minutes of the film) is incredibly straightforward and is almost boring in its predictability. Unlike Match Point, I always felt like I knew what was going to happen in this film. My point is that there is no suspense. We know what is going to happen. The characters, however, are fascinating, and turning a focus toward the study of character—and the excellent acting talent of the film's leads—would have been the way to make this film worth watching. As it is, Allen (one of my favorite directors of all time, in case you didn't know) focuses on suspense that never builds and tension that never rises.

Cassandra's Dream, unfortunately, is almost a total misfire. Well acted, well conceived, but ill executed.