Film Review: IN THE LAND OF SAINTS AND SINNERS (2023): Robert Lorenz’s Dark Action Picture Gives Liam Neeson Another Juicy Leading Role SuperNayr

Liam Neeson In The Land Of Saints And Sinners

In the Land of Saints and Sinners Review

In the Land of Saints and Sinners (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Robert Lorenz, written by Mark Michael McNally and Terry Loane and starring Liam Neeson, Kerry Condon, Desmond Eastwood, Conor MacNeill, Seamus O’Hara, Bernadette Carty, Ciaran Hinds, Niamh Cusack, Tim Landers, Jack Gleeson, Colm Meaney, and Sarah Greene.

Liam Neeson is back with a vengeance in the superbly crafted thriller, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, directed by Robert Lorenz. Neeson plays Finbar Murphy, an assassin looking to go straight, who becomes immersed with some heavy villains, one of whom is played by Oscar nominee for The Banshees of Inisherin, Kerry Condon. While Neeson rarely, if ever, disappoints in an action hero role, it is Condon who actually holds down a lot of the movie as a woman motivated by her personal politics named Doireann McCann. Knowing how reliable Neeson can be in this type of role means we shouldn’t take his solid performance for granted, but Condon has assumed the role of Doireann with enough dire tendencies that Condon proves why she is one of our most under-valued actresses.

As the film opens, IRA terrorist, Doireann, and her accomplices set up an explosion that accidentally claims the lives of some innocent victims, including children. The majority of the plot of In the Land of Saints and Sinners shifts itself in an Irish Village where Finbar has acquit himself in order to try to live a peaceful life. He is disturbed when he sees a young girl who he believes is being abused by a vicious uncle. Wouldn’t you know that the uncle (Desmond Eastwood) has familial ties to Doireann which complicates the film’s story line.

Anyone who has seen a Neeson picture before will know that Finbar will have low tolerance for abusive people which means that the evil people will pay dearly for their sins. Besides the basic revenge plot, the movie is peppered with performers in solid roles such as Colm Meaney as Finbar’s boss who eventually meets a dire fate and Ciaran Hinds as a local friend of Finbar’s. Meaney, in particular, proves to be a standout with a brief turn that helps shed light on Finbar’s past.

Condon’s performance can be bone-chilling at times. Her character’s disrespect for the lives of those who cross her family derives from her political beliefs and she becomes a character with very few, if any, redeeming characteristics. You don’t have to have seen many action pictures to know that Neeson’s character won’t put up with her or her brother’s nonsense. Abusing a little girl is an automatic way to get you killed in a Neeson picture. Finbar wants a peaceful life for himself and those around him, but won’t get one very easily. There are saints and there are sinners and Finbar is somewhere in-between those two sets of extremes.

What works best about In the Land of Saints and Sinners is that it doesn’t oversimplify any of the film’s complex politics. A lesser film would have made the audience try to understand why the bad characters in the film do what they do. These baddies headed by Condon’s character are purely heartless in most of their actions and when they kill people, the evil stems from their unreasonable, cruel and vicious natures. Finbar is trying to make the town a better place to live but his time is limited and he can only do so much. Neeson captures the intensity of the aging Finbar perfectly and this heroic role ranks as one of Neeson’s most nuanced recent performances.

Sure, we’ve seen movies like this before. The closing scenes set in and around a bar feel like they could have been strengthened a bit while the movie literally drags Condon’s character into a church for her final confrontation with Finbar. However, the picture is, surprisingly, compelling and intriguing to watch. Neeson has a knack for this particular type of role and he and Condon face off with results that are going to please fans of Neeson’s pictures.

In the Land of Saints and Sinners is the type of picture that will certainly satisfy action movie fans. Neeson and Condon create on-screen intensity like two pros and help keep the pace and momentum of the film moving at a fast clip. It’s a highly watchable rendering of good vs. evil with enough politics, action and suspense to keep the viewer riveted from beginning to end.

Rating: 7.5/10

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