Directed by Robert Lorenz, In the Land of Saints and Sinners takes us back to the year 1974, when the northwestern region of Ireland was experiencing a state of political unrest. At the beginning of the film, we saw that a group led by a woman detonated a bomb on Shankill Road, and a lot of people lost their lives as a result. These fugitives, who considered themselves revolutionaries fighting for the cause of an independent Ireland, then fled to Donegal, the forgotten county, where they crossed paths with an assassin named Finbar Murphy. So, let’s find out what happened between them and if they were successful in achieving what they had set out for.
Who was Finbar Murphy?
Everybody believed that their beloved Finbar Murphy led a peaceful life, but the reality was very different from what they perceived it to be. Finbar was an assassin, and a man named Robert McQue was his handler. Robert was always under the radar, and even the townsfolk didn’t know a lot about him. Robert liked keeping things discreet, and for years, he only worked with Finbar, as there was a lot of mutual trust between them, and they knew that their secrets were safe with each other. In recent times, another boy named Kevin has been employed by Robert because he believed that Finbar could use a helping hand.
Finbar had killed more people than anyone could have imagined, but now he wanted to retire, as he had had enough. Finbar was unlike any other contract killer, and that was why there was a huge difference between the way he dealt with things and how Kevin went about his business. Whenever he killed a man, he did it with a lot of solemnity. He didn’t enjoy the process; he didn’t crave a blood bath, and he gave the victims the chance to find peace in their last moments. On the other hand, Kevin loved the idea of having the power to take someone’s life. It was a sport for him. The excitement, whenever the young boy held a gun, could be evidently seen through his gleaming eyes. Kevin ran away from his home, and one day, he was in a bar fighting with another man when Robert spotted him and gave him the offer to work for him. Kevin had found the purpose of his life, and Finbar knew that he was going to enter a swamp from where he wouldn’t be able to come out. Finbar was good friends with Vincent O’Shea, who was a police officer in the national police and security service of Ireland. Vincent and Finbar spent a lot of time together, but the former didn’t have any clue what Finbar did for his livelihood. He knew somewhere that whatever he told him was an utter lie, but he never confronted him, probably because he wanted to wait for the right time to arrive.
Finbar killed a man named Bart McGuinness Bantry, and that encounter absolutely changed his mind and made him realize that it was about time he found some other purpose in life. In the Land of Saints and Sinners, Bart told Finbar to find peace and walk on the road of redemption until he still had some time left. Finbar went and told Robert that he wouldn’t be working for him, but life had other plans for the old assassin, which even he didn’t see coming.
Why did Finbar kill Curtis?
Finbar was quite close to Sinead, the barkeeper, and her daughter Moya, and he had a tendency to look out for the people he was close to. One day, he met Moya on the bridge when, accidentally, she dropped her package of food in the river. Moya got scared as if her mother would beat her if she came to know that she had lost all the food, but we got to know later what exactly the reason was. Finbar thought that he would go and talk to Sinead and tell her not to scold her, as the little child was already petrified. Later that evening, Finbar saw that Moya was evaluating whether to run away on her horse or not, as the little kid was too scared to face the consequences her actions would have.
Finbar calmed her down and dropped her off at her caravan. That’s when a man named Curtis June came there, and the way he behaved with Moya made Finbar realize that he had done something that had traumatized the little girl. Finbar asked Moya, but she was too scared to reveal anything. The next day, Finbar came to Sinead’s trailer, and he noticed that Moya had bruises on her hand. She was playing with a bullet, which strengthened Finbar’s suspicions even more. Finbar realized that Curtis was abusing Moya, and he and his team were involved in the bomb blast that had happened a few days ago. He realized that though these people considered themselves revolutionaries and sought to fight for the freedom of Ireland, in reality, they were terrorists who completely disregarded human life. Sinead told Finbar that she was related to the woman under whom Curtis was working, which is why she had given them a place to stay. It became very evident that Sinead was doing so out of compulsion, and she wished for them to leave as soon as possible.
Finbar went to Robert to ask for help, as he knew that Moya and Sinead’s lives were in danger, but Robert said that he shouldn’t meddle in such matters as it would put his life in jeopardy. But obviously, Finbar didn’t listen to him. He met Curtis on the way and offered him a lift. Finbar assaulted the man, put him in his car trunk, and drove him to a place where he could finally kill him. Finbar was about to shoot him when his barrel got blocked, but before Curtis could get up and fight him, Kevin, who had been hiding all this time, shot him from a distance. Robert might have told Finbar that he would not help his cause, but he asked Kevin to keep an eye out for the old assassin. Finbar and Kevin buried Curtis’ body at the usual spot, and nobody got a whiff of what happened.
What happened between Finbar and Doireann?
In the Land of Saints and Sinners, Doireann realized that her brother was in trouble as he hadn’t contacted her in days. Curtis was an irresponsible and reckless man, but even according to his standards, this behavior was unprecedented. Doireann, Conan, Curtis, and the entire team were responsible for the bomb blast that happened on Shankill Road, in which a few kids also lost their lives. They were part of the paramilitary force that had one agenda: to free Northern Ireland. But in their pursuit, they had gone a bit too far. Doireann was advised by her team members to stay low for a bit and probably leave the country until the dust settled. But Doireann was not ready to leave the battleground. She wanted to find her brother at all costs, and she was ready to go to any extent for that. She found out about Robert, from whom she got to know that it was Finbar who had carried out the attack on her brother. She killed Robert in cold blood after she got the information, but she believed that Finbar was just the hitman and that there was someone else who had ordered the kill. After Finbar found out about Robert’s death, he realized that he would have to reach a settlement with her, as he didn’t want innocent people to get killed because of him. Finbar met her during a football match, and it was decided that they would meet at Sinead’s bar in the night to settle scores once and for all.
Doireann had made up her mind to blow up the entire place and kill Finbar, and the latter wasn’t oblivious to her intentions. Just before Finbar entered the bar, he gave Kevin some money and asked him to escape and start over. Nobody had ever given anything to Kevin, and he felt overwhelmed at that moment. Finbar met Doireann in the bar, and Kevin, as expected, returned, as he just couldn’t leave his mentor alone. Kevin knew that he would probably be able to get out of there alive, but he was ready to risk his life. The bar was converted into a battleground, and Vincent finally got an idea of what Finbar did. Doireann’s men perished in the battle, and unfortunately, even Kevin lost his life.
During In the Land of Saints and Sinners‘ ending, Finbar killed Doireann in the church and ended the town’s nightmare. He told her in her last moments that he would make sure that she was buried next to her brother. He wanted her to pass away peacefully, as that was the kind of man Finbar was. Finbar decided to leave Donegal for good and start afresh. He had left an indelible impact on the people who became a part of his life, and be it, Rita or Vincent, they probably won’t be able to forget him for their entire lifetime.