In the Land of Saints and Sinners

Say what you will about Liam Neeson’s late-career role choices, but there’s no question the guy knows his way around an action thriller. What felt like a desperate last gasp at career revival back in 2008 after taking the lead in Pierre Morel’s Taken, has actually set him up to be remembered alongside the genre’s all time greats. He’s at it again in his latest film, In the Land of Saints and Sinners.

"a riveting film that redefines the contours of a Liam Neeson action/thriller"

In the Land of Saints and Sinners is a riveting film that redefines the contours of a Liam Neeson action/thriller by elevating it into a cinematic discussion of moral ambiguity set against the beautiful yet haunting backdrop of 1970’s Ireland. Directed by Robert Lorenz, this character-driven narrative is an intense mixture of conflict, transformation, and redemption, that resonates powerfully with a more mature audience.

The film's anchoring presence, Neeson as Finbar Murphy, delivers an understated yet profound performance as a badass assassin who forces his victims to dig their own graves before sending them to a dirt nap where he then plants a small tree on top their final resting place. The veritable forest of saplings hints at his professional success.

Neeson's depiction of the aging hitman navigating a path of personal reckoning is both riveting and heartfelt. It is a testament to his versatility as it showcases his ability to evolve beyond the expected energy of his action roles into a more nuanced character study.

As Murphy begins his wind-down from hit man to gardener, the troubles between the Irish Catholics and Protestants of the ’70’s encroaches upon his small town in the form of four IRA members hiding out after a botched bombing which killed innocent civilians and children. If that weren’t enough to bring Murphy out of retirement, the abuse of a local girl might surely do the trick.In the Land of Saints and Sinners

Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) also shines as Doireann, the composed and formidable leader of an IRA cell. Her chemistry with Neeson is fun to watch, as they form an adversarial dynamic that is as intriguing as it is unpredictable. The depth of their interactions is further enriched by Ciarán Hinds' compelling portrayal of a local cop whose loyalty to the law is as complex as the characters' own moral compasses.

Writers Mark Michael McNally and Terry Loane ingeniously weave a Western vibe into this Irish narrative. The parallels drawn with the gunfight at the O.K. Corral foster a gripping standoff atmosphere, where every moment is a calculated step in a delicate dance of survival. The thoughtful dialogue and engaging script lift the film beyond a mere adrenaline-pumping action piece into a story with soul and substance.

The setting of Ireland is a character in its own right—mystic and brooding, and accentuates the film's period noir ambiance, especially in scenes shrouded in the darkness of night. This atmospheric direction lends an authenticity that makes the film’s mean, nasty, and violent themes resonate all the more effectively.

Despite its darker tones and an undercurrent of gallows humor, the film leaves us in awe rather than judgment. We find ourselves transfixed not simply by the spectacle of the action but by Finbar's pursuit of a moral makeover. In the Land of Saints and Sinners is more than a thrill ride—it is a heartfelt inquiry into the essence of human nature, making it an unmissable experience for Liam Neeson fans and connoisseurs of rich, emotionally driven cinema alike.

4/5 stars

Film Details

In the Land of Saints and Sinners

MPAA Rating: R.
106 mins
: Robert Lorenz
Mark Michael McNally; Terry Loane
Kerry Condon; Desmond Eastwood; Conor MacNeill
: Crime | Action | Thriller
Haunted by Sin. Hunted by Sinners
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's more to me than this. I'd like people to see it."
Theatrical Distributor:
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 29, 2024
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: In a remote Irish village, a damaged father is forced to fight for redemption after a lifetime of sins, but what price is he willing to pay? In the land of saints and sinners, some sins can't be buried.


In the Land of Saints and Sinners