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HomeReviews MoviesIn the Land of Saints and Sinners movie review (2024)

In the Land of Saints and Sinners movie review (2024)

Actually, this one is more of an existential Western at its core, even though its set in Ireland during The Troubles. Lorenz has been a regular collaborator with Clint Eastwood for decades, producing films like “Mystic River,” “Million Dollar Baby,” and “American Sniper,” and it’s not hard to see Eastwood himself in a heartland-set version of this tale with little script alterations. It’s another story of a man who has done evil things but maintained a moral conscience through it all that is now being tested by someone who lacks such conviction. While it meanders more often than it should with some pretty slack pacing, strong character work by Neeson and an excellent supporting cast hold it together.

An Avengers-esque number of great Irish performers star in “In the Land of Saints and Sinners,” led by Neeson as an assassin with the great name of Finbar Murphy. He works for a local tough named Robert McQue (Colm Meaney), and he plants a tree on the ground dug out by his victims before he shoots them. Let’s just say there’s a forest of Murphy’s victims on the edge of this Donegal town. Of course, like any anti-hero in a Western like this one, Murphy is ready to put his shotgun away and live out his remaining days at the local pub, chatting with his buddy Vinnie O’Shea (Ciaran Hinds), the local Garda. Life will have other plans.

The film actually opens with a bombing orchestrated by an IRA terrorist named Doireann McCann (Kerry Condon, Oscar-nominated for “The Banshees of Inisherin”) that goes horribly wrong, leading to the death of three children. Avoiding the authorities, McCann and her cohorts go into hiding in Murphy’s village, eventually crossing paths with the good folk who live there. When Doireann’s brother does something horrifying, he ends up a target of Murphy, setting in motion a series of events that has to inevitably lead to bloodshed.

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