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Ash Wednesday (2002)

R | | Crime, Drama | 19 March 2004 (UK)
1:46 | Trailer

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Ash Wednesday is set in the Manhattan of the early 1980's and is about a pair of Irish-American brothers (Burns and Wood) who become embroiled in a conflict with the Irish Mob.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cousin Mike Moran
Vincent Rubino ...
Vinny Boombata
J.C. (as James Cummings)
Sean Sullivan
Pat McNamara ...
Pete at the Bar
Chris McGovern ...
Whitey's Driver (as Christopher McGovern)
Uncle Handy
Jimmy Burke ...
Red Kelly (as James Burke)
Stephen Murphy ...
Whitey's Man
Crazy George Cullen
Mrs. Diaz
Maggie Shea


Hell's Kitchen on Ash Wednesday, 1983. Rumors are flying that Francis Sullivan's younger brother Sean, dead for three years, has reappeared. If he wasn't killed by rivals, then old scores still need settling, putting Fran and Sean in danger. An upstart is pressuring the local mob boss, who's Fran's protector; Sean's wife, who thinks she's a widow, has gotten on with her life, but Sean has come back for her. The parish priest, part of the initial deception, is frightened. Bad guys with guns are closing in. Can Fran get Sean and his wife out of the city, avoid a war between rival factions, and hold onto new-found morality? Will the cross of ashes on his forehead protect him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 March 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Quarta-Feira de Cinzas  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,942, 13 October 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,942, 13 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the opening scene when Sean Sullivan shots the three guys in the bathroom you hear 3 gunshots (there is no visual of the event here). At time index 1:12:18, Sean Sullivan goes to the bathroom and shots the three guys, you hear four gunshots See more »


Francis: They thought you were the smart one? I must've looked like a friggin' retard!
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References Black & White (1999) See more »


Be Thou My Vision
Arranged, Produced and Performed by Matthew Ryan
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User Reviews

Could have been half-decent...
18 March 2017 | by See all my reviews

I first watched this a number of years ago, stumbling in from the pub after a few too many, and I seem to recall rather enjoying it. As is often the case however, on re-viewing it a second time, stone cold sober, I've completely changed my mind…

First, let's talk about the good things. The photography was excellent, the direction was good, and the casting was inspired in some cases: Malachi McCourt (younger brother of Frank McCourt, of Angela's Ashes fame) as Whitey, and James Handy as the parish priest were both noteworthy, in relatively small parts, but that same casting was monumentally awful in the case of Elijah Wood… If ever an actor was born not to play his part, he is that man… This was even worse than his miscast in 'Green Street', which was so bad it was almost watchable… I thought Rosario Dawson was good in a diluted, under-used sort of way, and looked most delicious in heavy makeup (this is set in the early 80's, remember), and even the man himself, Edward Byrne was believable in places (BTW, note to others-always refer to him as 'Edward'-Ed Byrne is an Irish comedian, which when reviewing this film could get very confusing)… The only really obvious fault here was the woeful waste of Oliver Platt-if you can book talent like him, then you really should use him!..

I had no problem with the linearity of the plot-after all, the whole film takes place over less than 24 hours, so keeping it simple was probably the best thing to do-and if you watched shaking your head in disbelief at the asinine stupidity of some of the characters, watch 'State of Grace'-an infinitely better film, also set in the criminal underbelly of Hell's Kitchen, the consensus is that these are stupid people doing stupid things…

Now the bad bit-and it's simply so bad it lets down the whole film, taking it from what could have been a decent pot-boiler into a risible farce-it's the dialogue-Edward Byrne is credited as the only writer, and it soon becomes obvious that this is simply not his field. The whole film sounds like it's been written by a 12 year-old… I know these are supposed to be 'stupid Mick immigrants of different generations', but really-people (adult people) just don't talk like that!.. It's not the swearing (although God knows, there's enough of it), it's the complete lack of subtlety, double-entendres, jokes & banter-all the things that make up daily conversations… When it's missing, you really notice it… The only really believable conversations are those that Pat McNamara (the barman, Murph) has with his customers-and those may seem more realistic simply because they were ad-libbed… Michael Leydon Campbell as Jimmy Burke was funny, but his were just comments and interjections-no-one really engaged with him… The rest is just too awful for words (pun intended)… And this makes the thing difficult to watch-you'll end up shouting at the screen , losing your temper, and not enjoying the film… It's a shame, because it should have been such an easy thing to fix…

So, I'm afraid my advice is this… If you see 'Ash Wednesday' advertised in your listings, and you've never seen it-give it a go by all means, but don't say I didn't warn you-personally, I'll be watching 'State of Grace' or 'Road to Perdition' instead…

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