‘Dusk For A Hitman’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Does Donald Kill Carl?

To think Dusk for a Hitman is kind of a biopic is unbelievable! Although director Raymond St-Jean’s film does clarify at the very beginning that most of the incidents are fictional—only the characters are taken from real life—the film can still be put in the biopic genre on a technicality. The treatment is very not-biopic-like, though, as for the most part, actor Eric Bruneau plays the role of hitman Donald Lavoie with a lot of swagger. No matter what situation he’s in, the man looks unbothered. It’s obviously a conscious creative decision, and it does work in the film’s favor. 


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens in the Film? 

Dusk for a Hitman begins in the autumn of 1979, with no-nonsense Hitman Donald Lavoie coolly taking care of two people by wiping them from the face of the earth, like nothing happened. Donald works for Claud Dubois, a fearsome gangster in Montreal. Donald’s brother Carl is fresh out of jail, and he seeks his help to get his life back on track. But Donald is skeptical, given that Carl is pretty much a loose cannon who has a tendency to cause unnecessary trouble. He still decides to try out Carl for a job, which is as simple as scaring a bartender. But Carl botches that by starting to beat the man violently, until Donald stops him. Frustrated at his brother, Donald asks Carl to go away for the time being. 


How Does Donald Find Himself in Trouble?

Even though it seems like nothing can touch him initially, Donald soon gets into a messy situation, which is not really his fault. Of course, it’s him who approved of letting Serge into the Dubois gang. Little did he know Serge would accidentally shoot a woman, and Donald would have to stab her violently to ensure the job was finished! The assignment was not even murdering this unfortunate woman; it was to threaten this man, Pelletier, and get him to pay the money he owed Claud. But it goes south, and Donald has no other choice but to get away from the city and hide until the dust settles. His wife, Francine, is obviously not happy about it, but Donald in this film is a typically entitled male who doesn’t hesitate to shut his woman up as required. How can he even hear anything against his godfather, Claud? So Francine receives a slap from her hitman husband, but she still goes on to visit him in the cabin in the woods. Francine also mentions Carl is up to something these days, and he might just catch a big break. Normally, Donald wouldn’t have entertained the possibility of his brother pulling off something substantial and making money at the end of the day, but considering the situation he’s in, he decides to give it a shot. Even a hitman has to pay his bills and make sure his wife and daughter are okay, right? Carl’s big thing happens to be selling illegal medicine, and to kickstart the process, Donald takes some money from Claud. Unfortunately, he soon realizes that it’s a no-go. But what is even worse is that Carl had no idea about him having police on his tail, and as a result of that, Donald, the suave hitman, gets arrested. 

Does Donald make a deal with the police? 

Donald expectedly keeps his mouth shut, no matter what Detective Roger Burns says to convince him into saying yes to a deal. The deal is quite obvious: he gives up enough information to the police about Claud and helps them catch the big fish. In return, he gets to walk free. But Donald doesn’t get convinced, as his loyalty still lies with Claud. The police can’t keep him for long either, considering the murder charges against him in the Pelletier case are not particularly concrete. So Donald gets out, but now Claud is skeptical about trusting him, especially given that he is hearing rumors about Donald’s new friendship with a certain Burns. However, Donald does succeed in convincing his boss after whacking a new recruit, who has proved himself to be a rotten egg. But that’s only a temporary thing, as soon Claud asks Donald to do the impossible—kill his brother Carl. Carl is not the only reason Claud had to deal with all this unnecessary trouble; he’s now selling mushrooms in Claud’s territory. In Claud’s defense, he has tried to reason with Carl by handing him a beating, but Carl seems to be unfazed by that. So there’s no other option but to eliminate Carl, and who’s better than his big brother to do the deed?


Does Donald Kill Carl?

Throughout the film, it has been established that Carl is pretty much a nuisance to Donald. But that doesn’t mean Donald would be okay with killing his own brother. He may not like Carl, but he’s still his brother, after all. So we get a scene where Donald pays his brother a visit, does mushrooms with him, and despite the fact that it looks like he’s about to end Carl’s life, he leaves just by asking Carl to get far away, in a not-so-polite manner. That does work out, but Claud is still not okay with it, so now we have the inevitable Claud versus Donald, where the former puts a one million bounty on the latter’s head.


Instead of going to the police at this juncture, Donald commits a bank robbery. That actually works out, as he gets the necessary money to get his wife and daughter away, but he eventually gets caught. This time around, he has no other choice but to help Burns nab Claud. Despite behaving like a pulsating action-thriller for most of its runtime, in its final act, Dusk for a Hitman becomes sort of anticlimactic. The cool killer from the beginning effectively turns into a police informant, whose testimony leads to the fall of Claud Dubois. Donald does serve eight years, though, for the bank robbery. Francine also leaves him for good, meaning he will never be able to see his daughter again. Dusk for a Hitman closes things off by showing Donald giving a television interview as the credits roll by. It does seem like he regrets many of his actions. Considering he has lost his family, it can be assumed that Donald’s life after the events of the movie was not quite great. It’s futile going into how similar the film is to the actual story, considering the director’s clarification at the start of it. 

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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