Edward Burns' start in films with "The Brothers McMullan", heralded good things for this New York based director, who likes to depict his Irish background in his pictures. Unfortunately, his career has taken a southward detour. He hasn't done anything worthy of his talents in a while. Even with the uneven "Sidewalks of New York", he found a voice, while in "Ash Wednesday", he is doing it by the numbers.
First of all, his story is supposedly based in a Hell's Kitchen that could only exists in the director's mind, as most of it is just a fantasy. Has Mr. Burns taken a tour of this part of town lately? Well, he'd be surprised in how gentrified and sophisticated it has become, quite a departure for the times when it was the turf of ethnic gangs of the 50s. For that matter, it would be hard to find a few good Irish people that are attracted to the area.
Some spoilers herein.
The plot is not well developed. It's hard to realize how stupid Sean is, knowing full well he is a marked man and going for a drink in the old 'hood... Oh well, he must had been suffering from cabin fever, or other similar ailment. Then, there is the story of the involvement of Francis with Grace, Sean's woman. Frances and Grace are evidently acting in two different movies as they have no chemistry. It's hard to believe these two had something going.
Elijah Wood, as Sean, is badly out of place. He is totally miscast. For that matter, the director, himself, doesn't fare much better. Ms. Dawson, also, doesn't have anything to do. The assorted bad guys one sees in the film are just not believable.
The other horrible thing this movie has going for it, is the silly musical theme of the few bars played on the piano.
Better luck next time Mr. Burns, or perhaps on your next film why not give us an incisive view of the world of supermodels, or how can one make a lot of money in advertising since you are an expert in those fields lately?
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