Redemption stories fascinate me, maybe because I'm not really sure there is such a thing. Can any amount of good deeds balance out a single deed that is truly awful? What does the one thing even have to do with the other? What's done is done. But maybe there is some way to cleanse your soul, even if you can never undo the harm. This is the premise of “A Prayer For the Dying.”
An IRA militant accidentally blows up a bus full of school-children, while attempting to ambush a British patrol. Believing himself to be damned, he flees to London, where he becomes a hit man for organized crime. Then he accepts a contract to kill a priest who witnessed a gangland murder, only to fall in love with his target's blind daughter.
Can he protect the two of them from the London mob? Will he even try, or will he simply carry out the contract, believing himself to be beyond redemption? Even if he does protect the priest, will it make any difference to his own damnation, or is he truly unforgivable?
“A Prayer For the Dying” is a sad, sad story, but like many such stories it is deeply moving. If you don't choke up at least once while watching this, you must be made of pretty stern stuff. I won't tell you the ending, except to say that I don't think it will disappoint you. I'm still not sure on the issue of redemption, but what this movie has to say about it is real and powerful.