Ash Wednesday

Overview

A relationship between two brothers literally becomes a matter of life and death in this drama from writer, director and actor Edward Burns. Francis Sullivan Burns was a street-wise thug with ties to the Irish mob until his younger brother Sean Elijah Wood was killed on Ash Wednesday in 1980 while trying to protect Francis from gangsters who were out to kill him. Three years later, Francis is a law-abiding man who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow and keep his eye on Grace Rosario Dawson, Sean's widow....
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Overview

A relationship between two brothers literally becomes a matter of life and death in this drama from writer, director and actor Edward Burns. Francis Sullivan Burns was a street-wise thug with ties to the Irish mob until his younger brother Sean Elijah Wood was killed on Ash Wednesday in 1980 while trying to protect Francis from gangsters who were out to kill him. Three years later, Francis is a law-abiding man who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow and keep his eye on Grace Rosario Dawson, Sean's widow. However, rumors have begun to circulate that Sean's death was just a ruse fabricated by Francis and a sympathetic priest, Father Mahoney James Handy, to get mobster Moran Oliver Platt off Sean's back. Some people have spotted someone who looks a lot like Sean wandering around the neighborhood, and Moran, who doesn't forget a grudge, begins scouring the neighborhood in search of Sean, while Francis has worries of his own about Sean, since his relationship with Grace has started to move beyond simple family friendship.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Actor/writer/director Edward Burns takes a break from streetwise romantic comedies to make a mature dramatic film that ranks with his best. Ash Wednesday is a suspenseful, melancholy piece set in Hell's Kitchen, a Manhattan neighborhood dominated by the Irish-American underworld. It takes place between sunrise and sunset on Ash Wednesday, 1983 -- three years to the day after the murder of young bartender Sean Sullivan Elijah Wood by thugs from the vicious Moran gang who were plotting to kill Sean’s older brother. That sibling, Francis Burns, has spent the intervening period putting his criminal past behind him and looking after Sean’s widow Rosario Dawson and infant son. But old vendettas die hard, and a shady past has an annoying habit of cropping up unexpectedly. Ash Wednesday explores themes close to Burns’s heart: sibling loyalty, Catholicism, morality, and duty. In his previous movies, these themes were often treated in a gregariously humorous fashion, but in this film they are handled with sobriety and restraint. An evocative musical score and moody, atmospheric cinematography help enormously, making this a Mean Streets-like take on Irish-American New Yorkers.
All Movie Guide
This sinister, atmospheric mob drama, shot in all sepia and shadows, is hampered by too many scenes of Acting 101, in which characters shout empty, accusatory lines without conviction while director Edward Burns' peripatetic camera jumps around the room as if shooting a hip car commercial. Still, there is much going for Ash Wednesday, including David Shire's moody piano score, a vivid sense of suspense, a palpable rhythm, and excellent secondary characters. And it's to Burns' credit that the story and characters are so compelling that the ash crosses on the major characters' foreheads for the duration never seem silly. (And neither does Oliver Platt, cast against type as a villain; he's truly a menacing presence.) This is Burns' fifth and most mature feature film, and despite its few flaws, even his most casual fans won't mind going along for the ride.
Los Angeles Times
For all its brooding quality, Ash Wednesday is suspenseful and ultimately unpredictable, with a sterling ensemble cast. Kevin Thomas

For all its brooding quality, Ash Wednesday is suspenseful and ultimately unpredictable, with a sterling ensemble cast. Kevin Thomas
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/2010
  • UPC: 687797320797
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Millennium
  • Language: English
  • Time: 60:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 65,783

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward Burns Francis Sullivan
Elijah Wood Sean Sullivan
Rosario Dawson Grace Quinonez
Oliver Platt Moran
Pat McNamara Murph
James Handy Father Mahoney
Michael Mulheren Detective Pulaski
Malachy McCourt Whitey
Julie Hale Maggie Shea
Technical Credits
Edward Burns Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Glen Basner Executive Producer
Susan Block Production Designer
Margot Bridger Producer
Ali Farrell Casting
Russell Fine Cinematographer
David Greenwald Editor
Caroline Kaplan Executive Producer
Aaron Lubin Co-producer
Tracy McKnight Musical Direction/Supervision
Laura Rosenthal Casting
Jonathan Sehring Executive Producer
Lucio Seixas Art Director
David Shire Score Composer
Jerry Stein Sound/Sound Designer
Carrie Stewart Set Decoration/Design
Catherine Marie Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ash Wednesday
1. Main Titles [6:00]
2. The Only Brother [10:05]
3. Thou Art Dust [10:56]
4. Laying Low [8:45]
5. Reappearance [8:47]
6. Unnecessary Turmoil [11:29]
7. Over Your Shoulder [9:21]
8. Questions [9:13]
9. Farm Life [9:55]
10. Reunion [4:11]
11. Disposal [6:06]
12. End Credits [3:21]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Ash Wednesday
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   Scene Selection
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ash Wednesday

    Brilliantly written, directed, and acted. This film is one of the best I have seen in a very long time. Edward Burns is great in this film along with Elijah Wood and the rest of the cast. I highly recommend this movie!

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews