“Rational people”, Taffin explains, will adopt a reasonable course when told of an unpleasant alternative, and on this basis he is a collector and general fix-it man in his Irish home town. Psychopaths are another matter, as he describes the consortium installing a chemical factory beside the sports field. This is not a question of breaking a brandy glass in a bar-owner’s hands, there are intermediaries all along the line, until a face-to-face confrontation with the top man is reached.
The curt, undramatic action and the location cinematography transmit their clarity to an understanding of the consortium’s scheme. An access road is to be run through the sports field, despite the bare ground nearby whose ownership is “lost somewhere between Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands,” according to a town councillor. But, as Taffin says, “this is my home town, I don’t need a story,” he knows the owner and finds him in cahoots with the councillor to build there, financed from the Caymans.
Taffin is reluctantly persuaded to oppose the factory as well. A hired boyo menaces the townsmen and brings reinforcements. It thus becomes necessary to advance up the ladder of operations, each time victorious but met with a further challenge.
The top man meets the politicians he has bought, in the car afterwards his secretary observes, “It’s hardly worth driving up.” He placidly replies, “It’s always worth driving up. When little people are on the take, they need to feel respected.”
The boyo is superseded by an experienced triggerman who liquidates a dangerous liability and gives the impression that Taffin has gone too far, thus isolating him. The final move is to eliminate this “tribune of the people”, who wears the triggerman’s raincoat at the payoff.