Woody Allen’s second endeavor into crime drama, after the excellent Match Point, is another solid effort with excellent work from the cast, but a story that doesn’t really surprise on many levels.
We are quickly introduced to Ian and Terry (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell, respectively) who are looking to purchase a small sail boat. We are immediately convinced of their brotherly love and that they will do anything to look out for one another and makes the whole movie entirely believable and feel real. The two brothers both try to live bigger lives then they are really placed with and dream and hope for bigger things. These dreams lead them to the unfortunate situation they are both put in and are forced to go to their Uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson) for help.
The first third of the film is fantastic, watching the brothers living a bit better then they probably should, luck going their way, and life looking good. Things slow down a bit though once issues rise and the boys think they have caught a break when they learned the much fabled Uncle is coming in town. The events that follow I will not ruin as if you avoid the trailer and back of the box on this film it is probably further enjoyable.
The actors are fantastic to watch work. McGregor and Farrell work perfectly with each other and seem like they have been brothers forever. They know each other front and back, are fun to watch, and when things get serious they are more then capable of selling those emotions as well. Both of these guys are criminally underrated and I wish we could see them more often then we do.
Tom Wilkinson isn’t on screen much, but when he is he is oozing intensity and we can fell the panic in him and we rightly leave him being possibly untrustworthy, leaving us feeling sympathetic for the brothers as they go along.
Hayley Atwell is great as the guy jumping actress that Ian falls for, and her arc is very believable as she slowly falls for him. Sally Hawkins is also great as she handles Terry as he flings himself all over the board emotionally. The women of these boys help us see deeper into these great characters and really broaden the film as a character study.
My major complaint with the movie is that it gets a bit redundant toward the end. It could have used some trimming and it really might have quickened the pace. The movie flies by for the first third or so, but once things begin to get really bad; it drags when it should be driving to the end. Though, it lets you think about what is going to happen and it very well might work for some; but not for me.
I hope Allen continues to make some crime films like this every couple of years, though I hope he puts a bit different spin on things as this felt a bit too similar to Match Point at times. The movie is definitely worth seeing and is a great showcase for the two lead actors. Go in knowing as little as possible and don’t expect an action thriller but a brooding character drama and you shouldn’t be disappointed.