In the Land of Saints and Sinners (2023) Movie Review: An Irish Thriller Featuring Liam Neeson

In the Land of Saints and Sinners
Molly Se-kyung

Liam Neeson stars in In the Land of Saints and Sinners, a film directed by Robert Lorenz.

In the golden age of cinema, spanning the 1950s and 60s, a star actor’s presence was so dominant that their character, the one they consistently played, heavily influenced the movie. It used to be a movie tailored for James Stewart or Cary Grant, with minimal variations of their “hero” or “villain” roles.

The same case applies to Liam Neeson, who has embraced this traditional role, heavily influencing nearly every movie he stars in or as we suspect, the films seem to be specifically designed for him. Decades ago, someone decided that this man, Liam Neeson, embodied goodness, whether portraying the character of Oskar Schindler or, in this case, a killer with a heart.

In the Land of Saints and Sinners
In the Land of Saints and Sinners


Finbar Murphy is a killer living in an Irish village in the 1970s during the IRA bombings. He bumps into members of this organization who are hiding in the village.

About the Movie:

An intense thriller heavily influenced by John Ford (who was Irish) and Liam Neeson (also Irish). It’s an Irish-themed storyline as Irish as Guinness beer itself – a thriller that screams western at every turn, full of familiar scenes and with a taste of Clint Eastwood.

“In the Land of Saints and Sinners” is a simple yet well-told tale. It avoids political issues and focuses on the story, the thrill, and the characters. As traditional as it gets (John Ford seems to be revered throughout), “In the Land of Saints and Sinners” is an engaging thriller. However, its classic nature and familiarity, sadly prevent it from leaving a lasting impression despite its flawless execution (and having seen Liam Neeson in similar roles in countless other movies).

In the Land of Saints and Sinners
In the Land of Saints and Sinners

It’s a low-key production with limited sets and calm scenes. The editing aligns with the story and the setting: there are no fast-paced sequences, everything, as in classic cinema, builds up to the final showdown.

While intelligently written, it doesn’t strive to deliver profound messages or reinvent filmmaking. There are no grand speeches, and the most dramatic scenes are familiar due to their melodious musical backdrop.

“In the Land of Saints and Sinners” doesn’t stand out for its originality or for being a thriller we haven’t seen before. Still, it’s good entertainment and one of those films that the actor’s fans continue to appreciate.

Our Opinion:

Entertaining, devoid of originality, and with countless references to classic cinema. It’s a tale that starts as a timeless story but gets overshadowed by repeatedly told stories.

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Molly Se-kyung is a novelist and film and television critic. She is also in charge of the style sections. Contact: molly (@) martincid (.) com
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