‘The Painter’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: How Did Peter Find Out About The Founder?

I used to watch a lot of movies when I was a kid, and some of them were actually great, or so I thought. It is only now that I realize that those films were repetitive, predictable, and had nothing new to say. There are countless of these genre movies, and The Painter is another one of them. Jon Voight (what a fantastic actor) sure loves to do the same Mission: Impossible part again and again. He is joined by Charlie Weber, who plays the lead in a very archaic manner, and to be honest, the script does not allow him to do anything else with it. 

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Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

When Peter was a child, his parents were murdered in a terrorist attack, and he was adopted by a CIA agent because there was something special about him. He was badly injured in the attack, but his hearing was uniquely impacted as he could hear everything within a certain radius, which practically made him a candidate for going insane if he misplaced his earplugs. Byrne, the man who took him under his wing, was hopeful that if Peter could just control this superpower that the anomaly had given him, he could become a powerful asset for the CIA. And so he was trained by Byrne and brought up to become a great undercover agent. He was soon to be married to Elena, another agent, but she broke up with him as she was pregnant and lost the baby in a dangerous job where Peter was also involved. 17 years after the incident, Sophia, a young girl, enters Peter’s life, claiming to be Elena’s daughter. Soon Peter learns that Elena has gone missing, and all of it has something to do with a clandestine organization known as ‘The Internship’ that was brainwashing children and making them into assassins.

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How Did Peter Find Out About ‘The Internship’?

Byrne used to contact Peter to hand out confidential information regarding certain cases where he needed Peter’s help. It was in one such case that Elena was shot, as she got distracted seeing Peter on the case. They lost their daughter, and Elena found it difficult to continue the relationship. Peter went off-grid and was deemed retired. He was living a secluded life and had changed his identity as well. His new name was Mark, and he made his living as a painter. The local pub’s bartender, Lucy, was his friend who sold his paintings, and Peter managed to live an isolated life without contacting Elena, who was still working for the CIA.

Elena had told Sophia to find Peter if anything ever happened to her, and that’s exactly what she did. She bought a painting that was sold by Lucy and asked Peter if he was the man she was looking for. Peter was in no mood to blow his cover, but Sophia followed him and found Elena’s portrait in his house, thus confirming that he was lying. Elena had gone missing, and Peter was concerned but had a lot of doubts, which multiplied exponentially when a wet team attacked him and he had to take them out. Peter took Elena into hiding and contacted Niles, a hacker, to hack into the CIA network and find out about Elena. She was off-grid, but the last case she was working on involved finding the origins of ‘The Internship’ and detaining its founder and rescuing all the kids trapped there.

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What Was The Meaning Of ‘Critical Redundancy’?

Elena and Peter were both super-intelligent people and often used to talk in jargon, even while getting cozy with each other. One term that became important in Peter’s life was ‘critical redundancy’. Now that he knew that Elena was missing, he started to wonder if she had ever tried to warn him about something.  Peter had a flashback and he realized that there was a recent mail that was sent to him by Elena, which contained two copies of the same book. Peter didn’t realize it, but it was her way to duplicate critical information if one of the sources got destroyed, and that’s what critical redundancy meant. She always gave him two of everything, and it was only late that Peter realized that the books might contain information about ‘The Internship’.


How Did Peter Find Out About The Founder?

The wet team was sent by a corrupt CIA official named Naomi Piasecki. She was trying to make it look like Peter had some confidential information that he was going to misuse, making him a national security threat. Byrne was grilled about his involvement with his ‘son,’ Peter, even though he was almost retired. Peter contacted Byrne and wanted some straight answers as to Elena’s whereabouts. Byrne first tested Sophia on her claims of being Elena’s daughter, but Sophia seemed to be telling the truth. Byrne used his resources and found out that Elena had died during a covert mission.

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Had it not been for the books Elena had sent to Peter, he would never have known that Byrne, the man who made him into an agent, was the founder of the Internship. He was fascinated after he heard about Peter’s case, and he wanted to produce an army of such people, whose senses were heightened and who could do things no other human was capable of. Piasecki was Byrne’s only other real success after Peter, whom he had been able to get into the CIA, and that too as a boss. Peter was almost killed when Piasecki sent a swarm of agents to kill him. They were all after the information that Elena had sent him describing the operations of the Internship. As Peter trusted Byrne, he gave him one of the thumb drives that was found in the books, and Byrne immediately uploaded a virus to it, damaging the intel. It must be there, after the ‘mysterious’ virus destroyed the information, that Peter began to doubt Byrne. Byrne didn’t know about ‘critical redundancy’—not knowing there was a second thumb drive that had all the intel.

Peter figured out that Piasecki met with Byrne a lot, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense unless she worked for him. This wasn’t the saddest news, though. The real kicker for Peter was that Sophia was also an ‘intern,’ which meant she was in on the whole plan. She had been sent by Byrne to lure Peter out into the open and make him give up Elena’s hidden thumb drives. Sophia didn’t know that the ‘fake’ backstory she was given to gain Peter’s trust was in fact absolutely true. Elena did not have a stillborn 17 years ago. It was Sophia, who was very cleverly shown to be stillborn, only to be kidnapped by Byrne, who trained her in the same way he had trained Peter. Lucy had to die at the hands of the killer who was working outside of the agency, but he too was part of the internship. Peter took his revenge after he killed the maniacal killer, but had trouble killing Byrne and Sophia. Peter had to convince her quickly that he was indeed her father, and Sophia killed Byrne, but not because she was convinced. It was more in an effort to have more freedom, as Byrne was too controlling with his stale ideas, and Piasecki was too full of pride to think that she was closest to Byrne.

During The Painter‘s ending, Sophia let Peter go, and a strange game of hunter and hunted began as she promised she would be coming for the thumb drive. She wanted to meet all the kids in the internship who were now her ‘brothers and sisters,’ and she was going to show the world what they were all capable of. Peter is alive, and so is Sophia, who was technically the one running the organization. There might be a sequel where he will go against his teenage daughter and bring down ‘The Internship’.


Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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