The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
By Roger Ebert
Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream" is about two brothers, one single and modestly successful and one struggling but in a happy relationship, who are both desperate to raise money, and agree to commit a crime together. The identical premise is used in Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," which is like a master class in how Allen goes wrong.
The Lumet film uses actors (Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman) who don't look like brothers but feel like brothers. Allen's actors (Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell) look like brothers but don't really feel related. Lumet's film involves family members in a crime that seems reasonable but goes spectacularly wrong. Allen has a family member propose a crime that seems spectacularly unreasonable and goes right, with, however, unforeseen consequences. One of the brothers in both movies is consumed with guilt. And so on.
Lumet seems comfortable with his milieu, middle-class affluence in a New York suburb. Allen's milieu is not and perhaps never will be the Cockney working class of London, and his actors seem as much tourists as he is. Nevertheless, they plug away in a plot that is intrinsically absorbing at times, even with so much going against it.