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.