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In the Land of Saints and Sinners
                                            review by Bobby Blakey

Ever since his Taken series I am all here for anything with Liam Neeson kicking some butt. Sure, not all are winners, but I will always be there to find out. As of late he has backed away from the more physical action roles, but still bringing more options to the genre. His latest film, In The Land of Saints and Sinners reteams him with The Marksman director Robert Lorenz and co-stars Ciaran Hinds, Kerry Condon, Jack Gleeson, Desmond Eastwood and Sarah Greene. Could this take Neeson back to his roots for something special or will it fail to ignite a revolution?

 

In the Land of Saints and Sinners follows Finbar Murphy who leads a quiet life in the remote coastal town of 1970s, Glencolmcille, far from the political violence that grips the rest of the country eager to leave his dark past behind. But when a menacing crew of terrorists arrive, led by a ruthless woman named Doirean, Finbar is drawn into an increasingly vicious game of cat and mouse, forcing him to choose between exposing his secret identity or defending his friends and neighbors.

 

I kept my expectations low here as I thought it might be more drama than action and was ok with that. The last few films Neeson has done have been hit and miss so really wanted him to have a strong outing especially with a film like this with Ireland being at the forefront. This is a slow burn drama with some action injected, but in no way is trying to be an action film. Instead, it is letting these characters live through their day and situations to dictate the events that unfold to the climax.

 

Ireland is a character all its own anytime it is put in front of the camera and no difference here. The breathtaking landscapes and culture give this film a bigger depth while the small village aspect keeps it intimate. Everyone here gives great 

performances, especially Neeson who is at his best. I love everything he does, even the bad ones just because he is always great, but here we are seeing a deeper performance than he has given in some time. Through his varying interactions he is bringing numerous approaches from kind and warm to dark and violent with a perfect transition between them all.

 

The rest of the cast are great as well with one actor I knew was familiar but for the life of me couldn’t figure out who it was until the credits. It being Jack Gleeson aka the most hated character on Game of Thrones, Joffrey who is unrecognizable and fantastic in his crazy. Each of them brings the needed connection and conflict to bring this film together in a way that pull you into their life and this violent time.

 

The film brings some humor, but keeps it pretty grounded in a serious nature. You believe in these characters’ close relationship or obsessed connections that lead to the chaos of it all. I love that it didn’t feel the need to force in some crazy action and kept it real throughout. I know this film might not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it and hope it finds the audience it deserves.

 

Decide for yourself and check out In The Land of Saints and Sinnners available now on Blu-ray and digital  from Samuel Goldwyn Films.

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