In the Land of Saints and Sinners

In the Land of Saints and Sinners
In the Land of Saints and Sinners
Home » In the Land of Saints and Sinners

Barely half a year has gone by since Liam Neeson’s previous movie. That means it’s about time for another action thriller starring that man who just won’t stop. His latest venture, “In the Land of Saints and Sinners” makes its way into the annals of film history with an unusual circumstance: It was made by Robert Lorenz and premiered in Venice one month ahead of “Retribution”, another Neeson film that was panned as a bomb threat. The selection to such a festival gives ”Saints and Sinners” some prestige fragrance, which doesn’t disappoint. In fact, this is really like an example of “one for me” from the actor with all those windy Irish landscapes and quiet reserves thereby placing him among other compatriots where the actors had enough room to find their touching moments.

It kicks off with a bang—the IRA bombing in Belfast which accidentally killed kids due to army being careless as usual—poor boys!. Doireann McCann (Kerry Condon), their fiery leader, leads them to hide deep in the hills. Along their path they shall eventually cross Finbar Murphy (Neeson) who is also someone looking forward to starting his life afresh after having been a killer himself while obscurely working as a hitman.

Therefore, it’s Westerly; an account of how barbarism guards and jeopardizes sophisticated lives. If this line does not convince you about what “Saints and Sinners” truly is then take note of its relationship with western films. Shot on location throughout Donegal County, it features nature at its most splendid i.e., stony sea cliffsides and rolling green hills (sometimes through drones that stand). Also let’s keep in mind bright actors playing some neighbors — ageing drinking buddies who are good hearted – thus managing to make it look like the whole scene is happening in one place nobody knows anything about. 

In another sense, this warmth is also a kind of toughness. There’s a touch of wariness about the local community when it comes to the civil conflict in their country. But a place that has sustained random acts of violence for half a century is not shocked by anything else anymore (“Saints and Sinners” 47). The troubles do not take any sides in “Saints and Sinners”, but they are more than skin deep. Instead, political background becomes an important factor that helps to make tragedy more tragic. And righteousness more blurred among characters who believe they must commit certain acts of violence.

It is a reunion between director Lorenz and Neeson (The Marksman, 2021), who teamed up on the movie about US-Mexican border issues. However, before that Lorenz was Clint Eastwood’s producer and AD for many years including directing the veteran walking man for his first film debut in 2012 called Trouble with Curve. Except neither Lorenz nor Eastwood have much use for subtlety or ease of style; instead both enjoy melancholy. It feels right here—the focus being on Neeson’s weathered, mournful visage at seventy-one years old.

This struggle for poise extends further than the protagonist of the movie, and is present even in secondary comedy relief characters including Condon’s big bad. Having landed her most powerful role yet after her Oscar-nominated performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Condon puts up a good act by cussing out nervous IRA confidantes and standing off with Neeson. However, the film’s best moment — and its only truly great scene — does not occur during that when she blows a man’s brains out but in the one that comes immediately afterward. She quickly hides herself from Doireann when gunshots awaken his elderly mother so as to explain what happened quietly and apologetically. “He deserved it,” she says making a heart-breaking statement.

It is this kind of slow, quirky move that gives “In the Land of Saints and Sinners” life. The film tends to over-dramatize pathos at more important times, especially concerning endangered children. Moreover, the opening bombing’s hanging collateral damage is tasteless while an even less subtle abuse occurs to one young girl at the hands of McCann’s brother, Curtis (Desmond Eastwood.) which Murphy notices correctly and avenges vigilante style hence setting off a cascade that culminates into an ending shootout with him and IRA soldiers. When Lorenz needs to progress his story along it often betrays his movie’s lazy inclinations just as this does.

There are many side routes that lead nowhere special, but “Saints and Sinners” doesn’t pretend it won’t end in bloodshed. What most drives this movie forward is how it approaches Neeson on screen – here playing a kindly old man living in small town America but also forever an actor who has made his living portraying Mafia family members’ hired guns for nearly twenty years now. Finbar floats the idea about retiring from using guns; he makes not very strong but genuine offer of retirement “I could plant a garden.” This comment is met with a laugh, one that we can all enjoy.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top