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Film / Cassandra's Dream

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Cassandra's Dream is a 2007 dramatic thriller film written and directed by Woody Allen.

Brothers Terry (Colin Farrell) and Ian (Ewan McGregor), who live in South London, were raised by their mother Dorothy to look up to their uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson), a successful plastic surgeon and businessman. Terry has a gambling addiction that sinks him deeper in debt, while Ian wishes to invest in hotels in California to finance a new life with beautiful actress Angela Stark (Hayley Atwell). To overcome their financial issues, they ask Howard for help. He agrees to help them, but asks for a favor in return: they must murder someone for him. Howard faces imprisonment for unspecified crimes and his future is threatened by a former business partner who plans to testify against him. Howard asks his nephews to get rid of Burns, and in return he will reward them financially. After initial reluctance, the brothers agree, setting in motion a series of tragedies.

This film features examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Terry accidentally kills his brother Ian by knocking him down the steps into their boat's cabin. Ironically, Ian had come to the boat to kill Terry in the first place.
  • Betty and Veronica: While the two female love interests in the film aren't part of a love triangle, each being involved with one of the two brothers, their personalities fit perfectly the trope: Kate (Sally Hawkins) is the soft, reasonable but exceedingly naive girl next door, and Angela (Hayley Atwell) the sexy, intellectual actress of questionably loose morals.
  • Cain and Abel: After Terry confides that he wants to turn himself in to the police for the murder, Ian and Howard agree there is no alternative but to get rid of Terry, so Ian plans to poison him, but at the last moment can't bring himself to kill his own brother, however, he nonetheless attacks him in a fit of rage. In the chaos, Terry knocks Ian down the steps into their boat's cabin, killing him.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Terry accidentally kills his brother Ian, the audience learns that afterwards Terry snapped and drowned himself.
  • Family Business: The film's dramatic events probably wouldn't have unfolded if one of the two brothers had been satisfied to keep on running his father's restaurant... and hadn't agreed to help the uncle with the trouble in his business. They're not actually The Mafia, but the subtext exists.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Terry has a gambling addiction while Ian thinks of investing in hotels in California. Darkly deconstructed later after they succeed in carrying out the murder; Ian is content to move on as if nothing happened, but Terry is consumed by guilt.
  • The Gambling Addict: Terry has a gambling addiction. It worsens after he's consumed by guilt after carrying out the murder.
  • Guilt-Ridden Accomplice: Terry cracks under the burden of the crime.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Terry is reckless yet thoughtful, while Ian is responsible yet cool. Even just visually, the contrast between the brothers is striking, looking nothing alike except for being drop dead gorgeous. They would've also fell for Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling if not for the fact that Ian, the seemingly responsible one, is content to move on after the murder they commited as if nothing happened, while Terry is consumed by guilt.