Director Woody Allen continued to work in the dark mold of his 2005 thriller Match Point with this suspenseful tale of two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor) transformed into mortal enemies after scheming to alleviate their financial difficulties by turning to crime. Ian (McGregor) and Terry Blaine (Farrell) are two Cockney siblings whose lives seem to have simply fallen apart. While hard-drinking auto mechanic Terry lives with his girlfriend, Kate (Sally Hawkins), and suffers all the financial hardships that go with being a chronic gambler, his slightly more respectable sibling Ian helps their father maintain the family restaurant. Thanks to the steady income that the restaurant provides and the occasional help of their wealthy uncle Howard (Tom Wilkinson) the family has always managed to scrape by, but when Ian learns of a potentially lucrative California real estate deal, he can't help but dream about moving on to bigger and better things. One day, Terry wins big at the tracks by betting on a speedy greyhound named "Cassandra's Dream," and promptly uses his winnings to purchase a small yacht that he names after the winning dog. Right around the same time, things also start looking up for Ian -- who falls under the seductive spell of ambitious actress Angela (Hayley Atwell). But the brothers' good-luck spell doesn't last long, because when Terry winds up owing a tidy sum to some violent local loan sharks, he's given the option of promptly paying up or suffering some particularly painful consequences. Just then, Uncle Howard shows up in London looking to settle the score with a whistle-blowing business associate. While agreeing to take part in Uncle Howard's diabolical revenge scheme could easily earn Terry the cash needed to pay off his substantial debt, the consequences -- should he get caught -- will be far greater than those of any small-time scam he has ever resorted to in the past.
by Jason Buchanan synopsis