Woody Allen‘s Cassandra’s Dream (Weinstein Co., 11.30) plays a lot tighter and stronger than I’d been led to expect by the pans (particularly the one from Variety‘s Derek Elley) coming out of the Venice Film Festival. It’s not Match Point-level, particularly regarding the ending, but it’s a straight, well-acted tragedy piece that struck me as unpretentious, believable and fat-free.

I was especially impressed with Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell‘s portrayals of working-class brothers who get into a horrible financial bind and are pretty much forced (or so it seems from their perspective) to commit murder, which of course only leads to darker, more enveloping states of mind. Farrell’s performance as a weak (certainly vulnerable) fellow with a gambling addiction is particularly gripping.

I have to pack up and get in line for Paul Schrader‘s The Walker (showing at 9:30 pm), but Cassandra’s Dream, for my money, is a solid, mid-level Woody.