Except that he didn't. Uncle Howard's kind exterior is only a front for the diabolical means he actually used to become wealthy. Now the working-class brothers need money, and their uncle has a big favor to ask. Some guilt-ridden consciences are in the offing.
Cassandra's Dream is, in some ways, typical Woody. The two brothers (foils to one another) spend most of the film arguing. There are role reversals and character collisions. One brother, McGregor's Ian, refuses to believe that crime never pays: He becomes so taken with greed that he'll do anything to own a Jaguar and marry the woman he has become completely obsessed with. Farrell's Terry, in contrast, suffers remorse.
Kate (Sally Hawkins) is an aspiring actress willing to do anything to succeed. She dates Ian because she thinks he is a successful businessman. When he sees men going in and out of Kate's apartment, Ian becomes repeatedly and violently angry. Kate may be using more than just charm to excel in her career.
Cassandra's Dream is the name of a boat they buy at the beginning of the film. The small ship is rundown and broken, yet Ian and Terry become thrilled when they become boat owners. But the ship just kicks off the eventual downfall of the dual protagonists. Soon the dream of financial freedom and success will become burdened with the deeds they have to do to get there.
Allen rushes through some plot points and Wilkinson appears uncomfortable in some scenes. In examining the destructiveness of greed, envy, and the tragic end that comes from delving into the dark side of human nature, this movie is much more tragic in mood than Allen's other recent films set in London, Scoop and Melinda and Melinda. Cassandra's Dream has none of Allen's usual comedic twitter. (Rated PG-13)