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Ash Wednesday (2002)

Jimmy Burke , Brian Burns  |  R |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jimmy Burke, Brian Burns, Jimmy Cummings, Rosario Dawson, Brian Delate
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4KT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,125 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ash Wednesday" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Ash" burns February 14, 2004
It's gritty. It's dirty. It's violent and scary. It has little ash crosses on it. In a nutshell, it's Edward Burns' latest movie, "Ash Wednesday," a surprisingly poignant and thrilling action movie about two Irish-American brothers caught in a very dangerous position. Though it's a little uneven, especially in the first half, the intensity makes it worth seeing.
The date is Ash Wednesday, 1980. The place: Hell's Kitchen. Sean Sullivan (Elijah Wood) is tending bar when he overhears three thugs plotting to kill his brother Francis (Edward Burns). So takes out a gun and kills all three of them to keep Francis alive. After that night, everyone hears that Sean is dead, and life continues for Francis and Sean's young wife (Rosario Dawson) for three years.
What no one knows is that Sean is really alive. And soon Francis begins to hear rumors that Sean has been seen hanging around the neighborhood. Little brother wants his wife back (unaware that he now has a baby son). Problem is, if he is still alive, then there are some scores yet to be settled. And Francis may have to pay the price to keep his family safe.
Revenge stories have been with us since... well, a very long time. And "Ash Wednesday" is noteworthy less for the complexity of its story (it really doesn't have any) than for HOW it's told. Family loyalty in movies is something that can rarely be done without sappiness, but amazingly Burns strips it down and makes it very moving. The first half is kind of slow, with a lot of Burns walking around and looking grim. But things pick up and compensate in the second half with more guns, dangerous strangers and family problems.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film for a thinking audience - June 13, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary film, considering that it was shot in only 20 days for a cost of two and a half million.

Ed Burns is Francis Sullivan, the oldest son of a union boss, a former longshoreman, and a first-class killer. Elijah Wood is Sean Sullivan, Francis' younger brother, a killer by default. Sean is exiled to a place somewhere out of the neighborhood for his own good, but one day, he returns to Hell's Kitchen and the story begins. Without going into a plot synopsis (I'm not going to explain something you can see for yourself), I will say that the plot is character-driven, and that it unfolds in a very logical manner.

Rosario Dawson and Burns (as always) are enjoyable to watch. Elijah Wood is believable as Sean. The soundtrack is good, and so is the cinematography. As a director, Burns did a great job. The Director's commentary on the CD was extremely interesting and pointed out things about the production of the film that were less than obvious. As a comparison, 'Sleepers' was another film that dealt with some aspects of Hell's Kitchen, even though the story was vastly different. Even so, parts of 'Ash Wednesday' had the same sort of feel. Maybe it was the mindset.

However, I'm sure that this film will have a narrower demographic appeal than films like 'Lord of the Rings' or 'Star Wars', simply because of the religious, ethnic and class issues that define the structure of 'Ash Wednesday'. If your background is something other than Irish Catholic, you're not male, and you're not familiar with life in the big city, then you'll probably have to work at understanding the film's characters and the story itself.

The story is well thought out, but it obviously wasn't meant for the same audience that buys into Paris Hilton, the 'Atkins' diet, or enjoys watching 'reality' shows on television. That alone is refreshing. I hope that Edward Burns continues to make films as well-crafted as this one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ash Wednesday: Riveting August 27, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ash Wednesday is a dark movie with a prosaic plot line and a simple theme. But like many simple things, there are layers of complexity in the fabric of this film-mostly from the sturdy script and the superlative character acting. The viewer is given a New York texture-the old neighborhood, even if the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City was leveled twenty years prior to the action-the look and feel is just about right to our mind for a grim Irish Catholic object lesson with a Johnny One-Note theme.

Ed Burns, and it is Ed Burns' film, delivers a solid performance as the repentant Francis Sullivan, who is seeking salvation from his former life. He's not so repentant that he's above adultery, but his brother Sean is supposed to be permanently out of the picture -so does adultery count? Francis is an intense character, gaining credibility through repetitive phrasing as if the only way he knows the next steps are by repeating them. He also wins the F word award as the only adjective in his vocabulary-although his metaphors are as colorful as Archie Bunkers. Burns is riveting in his portrayal and the rest of the cast rides along on the tracks he lays.

Elijah Wood, in an unusual role for him, plays the younger brother, who is imaginative, college material and forward looking, if not a dreamer-but not above killing three men on impulse and returning from the dead on a whim. Wood gives us a foil against Burns' character. While Francis is focused, Sean is not. He lives in a fantasy world (sometimes). He's angry at other times. There could even be a tinge of bi-polarism in this character. Wood unsettles us in his remarkable portrayal, which leaves the character unresolved and allows the audience to forecast Sean's ultimate failure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars DON'T Buy this it is not the original movie!!
Version on this knockoff disk is 4:3 instead of 1:85. Unwatchable. Do not waste your time. It is a bait and switch, sadly. Probably a ripoff.
Published 4 months ago by David Padilla
5.0 out of 5 stars Ash Wednesday
This was really great I was pleasantly surprised! Ed and Rosario Dawson have the same great romantic chemistry they had in Sidewalks. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Britt
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Brothers Try And Do What's Best For Their Family
A slow-paced but gripping thriller about what people will do to protect their family. Set in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1980's the film has a gritty feel which suits the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Darren O'Neill
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
This movie was violet but boring. I would not recommend this movie to anyone. It didn't even have a decent plot.
Published 20 months ago by sdcohen0706
4.0 out of 5 stars big edward burns fan
since i am such a big edward burns fan i didnt hesitate to watch this movie and it has to be on my top 20 lists of fav movies. very great twists and turns
Published on April 29, 2012 by joan f
3.0 out of 5 stars Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return
-Genesis 3:19 In a fictional early 1980s NYC's Hell's Kitchen, rumors start circulating that Francis Sullivan's (Burns) younger brother (Wood) has returned to the neighborhood. Read more
Published on March 15, 2012 by Mickey Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Sins Redeemed
Ash Wednesday is a dramatic tale told of one man torn between a life of crime and redemption. The story of his life sheds light over sins of his past that come back to haunt him... Read more
Published on November 4, 2011 by Melissa R. Mendelson
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgive me, Frodo lives....
"Ash Wednesday" is a lovably bad movie. It's best paired with its sister flick Ash Wednesday [VHS], a Liz Taylor/Peter Fonda soap opera about adultery, plastic surgery,and an older... Read more
Published on March 9, 2011 by Amaranth
4.0 out of 5 stars Good condition
I would order again form this seller. DVD arrived fast and in good condition.
Published on March 22, 2010 by C. Graziano
1.0 out of 5 stars F this F that
If you love the F word, you may like this movie, but if you are like me and cringe, and think that kind of trash talk belongs in a trailer park. Read more
Published on November 18, 2009 by grasshopper
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