Directed by Woody Allen
The first time I watched “Cassandra’s Dream” about two years ago now, I didn’t like it. In fact, I basically forgot about it as soon as I finished watching it. I was also really, really, high. Watching a Woody Allen comedy while high? Great idea. Watching a Woody Allen drama while high? Not so much. Allen loves to ape the style of European melodrama for his more serious work, something that is hard to reconcile with your desire to laugh while stoned. So, my first go around with this film I found it to be boring and overblown. Still, I’m nothing if not a completest, and since I own most of Allen’s other work, I picked this one up at a Blockbuster’s near my place that was going out of business. (Think about it, by the time I have kids who are the age that I am now, I’m willing to bet renting chains will be a thing of the past, that’s a crazy thought.) For 3 bucks, I figured I could risk giving it another chance. I’m glad I did.
The film starts off more ominously than any other film Allen has ever made. Now, this is mostly to do with the score composed by Phillip Glass, a score that is quite simply fantastic. It’s haunting, threatening, and moody throughout the entire picture and goes a long way in making “Cassandra’s Dream” stand out from other Allen melodramas. (In fact, it’s probably the film’s defining feature.) Like almost all of Allen’s dramatic work, “Cassandra’s Dream” stumbles along its path occasionally, but also like most of Allen’s work, its redeeming qualities (acting, cinematography, score, and production design) more than make up for its short comings.
Like Allen’s other films, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, and “Match Point”, “Cassandra’s Dream” is most intriguing because of the moral conundrums it poses to its audience. And although “Cassandra’s Dream” may be the least effective film of that trio from a technical standpoint, it poses (I think) the more interesting dilemma. Would you kill for family? For someone who has always taken care of you and looked out for you? If they needed you to kill someone, would you do it? By the end of the film, these questions have been thoroughly explored and the film ends in a truly tragic fashion (if not slightly abruptly).
“Cassandra’s Dream” is a fantastic film, one that’s capable of making you question your own moral standings. And as it turns out, it’s also a film that you should watch sober.
Oh, and also, Hayley Atwell is extremely beautiful.