Friday 1 December 2023

REVIEW: In the Land of Saints and Sinners (2023 film) - Starring Liam Neeson

Review by Jon Donnis
"In the Land of Saints and Sinners," directed by Robert Lorenz and featuring Liam Neeson in the lead role, delivers a gripping Irish action thriller that effectively blends Neeson's signature tough-guy persona with a compelling narrative set against the stunning backdrop of 1970s Donegal. With a solid supporting cast and engaging cinematography, the film stands out in the crowded genre, despite some formulaic elements.

The plot revolves around Finbar Murphy (Liam Neeson), a former assassin trying to distance himself from a shadowy past. Employed by local figure Robert McQue (Colm Meaney) as a hitman, Finbar's life takes a dark turn when terrorists enter the picture, threatening the peace of his quiet coastal town. Drawn into a dangerous game, Finbar must confront his own secrets to protect his community.

Liam Neeson delivers a familiar yet compelling performance, showcasing his ability to portray the reluctant tough guy with a heart of gold. The film successfully utilizes the picturesque Irish landscape, creating an immersive experience for the audience. The accompanying score enhances the overall atmosphere, contributing to the film's emotional depth.

The supporting cast, including Kerry Condon, Jack Gleeson, and CiarĂ¡n Hinds, delivers stellar performances, adding layers to the narrative. Jack Gleeson, in particular, shines as the second hitman, creating a memorable dynamic alongside Neeson. The film's cinematography captures the essence of the small Irish coastal town, providing a visually appealing backdrop for the unfolding events.

While the movie initially appears to follow the standard Liam Neeson action-revenge formula, "In the Land of Saints and Sinners" distinguishes itself through its strong supporting cast, fantastic cinematography, and engaging storytelling. The film successfully explores themes of redemption and sacrifice, adding depth to the overall narrative.

However, the film is not without its flaws. The narrative, while engaging, follows a somewhat formulaic and predictable trajectory, lacking the thematic complexity seen in some other thrillers. The exploration of Finbar's past and his involvement with McQue's operations feels somewhat shallow, leaving potential for a more profound examination of his character.

In conclusion, "In the Land of Saints and Sinners" is a highly enjoyable Irish action thriller that leverages Liam Neeson's strengths while offering a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience. Despite its narrative predictability, the film's strong performances, captivating scenery, and well-executed action sequences make it a worthwhile addition to the genre.

I score In the Land of Saints and Sinners a decent 8 out of 10.

Out now on Digital