Cassandra's Dream (2007) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The tale of two brothers with serious financial woes. When a third party proposes they turn to crime, things go badly and the two become enemies.

  • Two London brothers are hard-up for cash, and both have girls to look out for, too. When rich Uncle Howard comes to town and agrees to help them out, he admits his finances are under investigation, and he asks them to do him a favor and "take care of" an old business relation to keep his trouble under wraps - he says that they're family, and since he always takes care of them, the least they could do is help him out this once, as they're the only ones he can trust. The film follows their struggle with the immorality of this request and how each brother chooses to deal with it.

  • South London brothers Ian and Terry Blaine are close despite their differences. Terry is the physical one working as a mechanic. He drinks, gambles and pop pills a little too much, but is in love with his devoted girlfriend, Kate. Ian is the smart one who has returned to work in the family restaurant business ever since their father, Brian Blaine, suffered a heart attack. Ian, who has but a few savings, always has some big scheme on the go, the latest a hotel venture in Los Angeles. Brian expects Ian to take over the restaurant someday, something that Ian has no intention of doing, the thought of which to him is death. Most of what the family has, including the restaurant, can be attributed to the boys' maternal uncle, Howard Swann, a successful plastic surgeon with clinics around the world. Weak Brian feels somewhat emasculated as his wife/the boys' mother, Dorothy Blaine, is always throwing Howard's success and Howard being the reason for anything they have had in life in his face. Although they collectively have no money to do it, the boys decide to purchase a small second-hand sailboat, it a remembrance of their childhood when Uncle Howard took them sailing. The boys eventually are able to afford it as Terry comes into a gambling windfall, they naming the boat Cassandra's Dream, after the greyhound at the track that financed most of it. Things for them both seem to be falling into place: Terry is on a gambling hot streak, which is allowing him and Kate to think about buying a place of their own; Ian has met who he believes is the girl of his dreams, actress Angela Stark, although he doesn't realize that in pursuing Angela, he has has casually tossed aside Lucy, a waitress at the restaurant; and with Angela, the Los Angeles deal becomes more of a reality if only because Ian places more of his efforts on it. One other issue with Angela is that he has portrayed himself as this wealthy businessman, he borrowing money from Terry and flashy cars from Terry's customers for that façade. But when both the boys hit a financial downturn, they feel like they are up the proverbial creek without a paddle. So it is perfect timing when Uncle Howard comes for a visit, he who they believe can get them out of their financial issues and not be judgmental about their plight. He is as they believe, however there is a quid pro quo he would like in return. What Uncle Howard asks them is far beyond money, and in deciding what to do about Uncle Howard's proposition could potentially tear the brothers apart as long as they keep the secret and if they diverge in their thoughts about what to do.

  • In London, the loser brothers from a working-class family, Ian and Terry, buy a second-hand sailboat name Cassandra's Dream for their leisure. Ian poses of big shot and has big dreams, saving money to invest in two hotels in California while the unstable Terry is an alcoholic gambler addicted in pills and mechanic. When Terry loses a great amount in a card game, Ian lends his savings to pay part of the sum Terry owes to loan sharks. When their wealthy uncle Howard arrives in London coming from China, the brothers see the chance to borrow the money they need to quit the debt with the loan sharks and to invest in the hotel. However, Howard asks them to get rid of his former associated Martin Burns that is threatening him and his businesses. Ian and Terry have to decide whether they shall cross the line and help family or face the lack the money to resolve their issues.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • British brothers Terry (Farrell) and Ian (McGregor), who live in South London, were raised by a weak father (John Benfield) who runs a restaurant, and a strong mother (Clare Higgins) who taught her sons to look up to their uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson), a successful businessman.

    Both brothers decide to buy a sailboat which they name Cassandra's Dream, after the horse that won the race in which Terry earned the money to buy the boat. Knowing nothing of Greek Mythology, they are unaware of the ominous antecedants of this name - the ancient prophetess Cassandra, whose prophesies of doom went unheeded by those around her.

    After a day sailing with their current girlfriends and while driving back home in a borrowed Jaguar XK150, Ian crosses paths with beautiful actress Angela Stark (Hayley Atwell), with whom he falls in love.

    The brothers' financial difficulties -- Terry has a gambling problem, while Ian wishes to invest in hotels in California -- lead them to think about asking for Howard's help. Uncle Howard supposedly comes to London to celebrate his sister's birthday, but when the two brothers ask for his financial help, he reveals a more sinister motive. He admits that he is about to go to jail because of accusations coming from Martin Burns, a business partner who plans to testify against him, and asks his two nephews if they can help to get rid of him. After initial reluctance, the two brothers agree.

    They make two working zip guns from metal and wood, allowing them to burn them afterwards. In an initial attempt they wait in Burns's home; unexpectedly he is accompanied by a woman. Panicked, they leave and agree to commit the murder the next day.

    In the next attempt they succeed in carrying out the murder uncaught, and burn the guns. Ian is content to move on as if nothing happened, but Terry is consumed by guilt and begins abusing alcohol and pills. This frightens his girlfriend (Sally Hawkins), who meets Ian to tell him about the situation, mentioning to him that Terry believes he has killed someone. Terry's behavior begins to get out of control, thus terrifying Ian. After Terry confides to his brother that he's thinking about turning himself in to the police, Ian goes to Howard for advice. Together, they agree there is no other alternative but to get rid of Terry. Ian then plans to poison Terry during a trip on the boat. In the end, however, Ian can't bring himself to kill Terry. In a fit of rage, they tussle aboard the boat. In the chaos, Terry knocks Ian against the hull and kills him. Terry, who was already suicidal, snaps and drowns himself.

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