Michael Lynch (Kevin Spacey) is a suave, sarcastic and sexy man: an ordinary decent criminal who robs from the rich but lives with the poor. He loves his wife, Christine (Linda Fiorentino) and her sister Lisa (Helen Baxendale), his children, his gang and, above all, his unique way of life. He dreams up robberies with hallmark panache which rarely fail to endear him to the public. He challenges authority at every turn, culminating in the ultimate art theft from Dublin's most prestigious gallery, outwitting and confounding the police, Interpol and the rest of the criminal fraternity. Michael is driven by two fundamental beliefs: be loyal to your own and to hell with everyone else. He succeeds so well that what starts as a laugh evolves into something far more dangerous. He begins to enjoy the sting more that the cash, and the notoriety most of all. As his ego drives him on, the police, in particular Noel Quigley (Stephen Dillane), become determined to break him.