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In the Land of Saints and Sinners (2023)

Winston T. Boogie

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Title: In the Land of Saints and Sinners (2023)

Tagline: Can you bury your past?

Genre: Action

Director: Robert Lorenz

Cast: Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds, Kerry Condon, Sarah Greene, Jack Gleeson, Colm Meaney, Conor MacNeill, Desmond Eastwood, Seamus O'Hara, Niamh Cusack, Valentine Olukoga, Mark O'Regan, Anne Brogan, Conor Hamill, Laura Hughes, Michelle Gleeson, Bernadette Carty, James Sadat

Release: 2023-10-06

Runtime: 106

Plot: In a remote Irish village, a damaged Finbar 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.

 

Mikael Soderholm

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What a coincidence you starting this thread now, when the blu of this just popped up on sale at my favorite online site. Blind buy, should be arriving today.
Really like Liam Neeson when he does action like Taken, Nonstop, Commuter, Memory, Run all night, Tombstones, and hopefully this.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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Well, that was much more than the usual Neeson action, this was really good. A real movie. Recommended.

You must have got this in theaters before us. Here it has not had a release yet, unless I missed it. I think that's why the timing of you getting a Blu-ray before we've seen it at all.
 

Mikael Soderholm

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You must have got this in theaters before us. Here it has not had a release yet, unless I missed it. I think that's why the timing of you getting a Blu-ray before we've seen it at all.
I don't remember this being in theaters at all, and the blu was heavily discounted, so I figured it had been out a while. The site I bought from doesn't give a release date, but it was filmed in 2023.
And like I said, one of his best, highly recommended.
 

Malcolm R

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It's been in limited international release since October 2023, so other territories may have had a home video release by this past Christmas. Just released here in North America this past weekend and made about $1 million in around 900 theaters.
 

cadavra

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Just opened in L.A. last Friday; saw it yesterday. Not your standard Neeson action film, but an introspective drama on the theme of killing and when, or if, it is ever justified. Very impressive. with beautiful locations that recall "Banshees of Inisherin" (which earned Condon an Oscar nom).
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Just saw this yesterday and also liked it a good deal.

Agreed that it's one of Neeson's best films (at least of this type), especially in a long time...

_Man_
 

Winston T. Boogie

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I think my favorite movie contract killer/hitman is Max von Sydow's Joubert from Three Days of the Condor. Max just has this incredible presence onscreen that elevates his small role in the film into something really special and memorable. The small moments he shares with Redford are just incredible movie character moments, they deepen the story both in terms of mystery and intrigue, but also emotionally. I always thought an entire movie about Joubert would be fascinating because Max and the character are so wonderfully unique. Of course, if Three Days of the Condor were made now and was a hit, there probably would be a Joubert spinoff film...not likely Three Days of the Condor would be a hit if it were made now, it would likely be a streaming service release that never played in a theater.

In some ways, this film, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, is kind of an entire film about a Joubert like hitman. Neeson's character is a contract killer, but he is thoughtful and lives a quiet life in a small Irish seaside town, where he appears to be a well-liked regular guy. He has a sort of unique method for doing away with the people he is contracted to kill, he takes them out into a clearing in a forest carrying a small tree, has them dig a grave, then he shoots them, buries them in the grave, and plants the tree on the grave. This is a movie character thing too, because probably a real hitman would not go through the trouble of kidnapping his target, getting a seedling, having the guy carry it out into a forest, have his contract dig the grave, and then take the time to bury the guy and plant the tree on his grave. It does provide a nice movie moment though when one of the guys he has taken out into the forest looks to his right, sees all the small trees planted in the clearing, and realizes that Neeson's Finbar Murphy has been a busy guy.

Here's the really good news, this is not just another movie with Neeson playing a character with a certain set of skills that you know is going to go on a major league killing spree. Nope, in this film he actually gets to do some acting. This is part drama and part revenge film and overall, a pretty Irish story. Finbar comes to the conclusion that he'd like to get out of the contract killing business and do something else, like plant a garden, and just be a good member of a community. Of course, this plan hits a snag when a group of IRA terrorists decide to hideout in the small seaside town he lives in.

Sure, most of this probably sounds like a familiar set-up for a boilerplate action film but what sets this apart is there is a much greater focus on the characters and some character moments. Also, this has a great cast doing fantastic work. Kerry Condon devours her role as one of the IRA terrorists that screws up Finbar's retirement plans and Colm Meaney and Ciaran Hinds provide their usual sterling work in support roles. This one takes its time to unfold, building the bonds between the characters and letting the emotions stew. It's not a picture about staging action sequences, it is about making the moments of violence that occur actually feel like they have weight.

Don't expect a Taken type action sprint. I'd probably compare this more to, and likely double feature it with, A Prayer for the Dying, another film about an IRA attack gone wrong, a hitman hiding out, and that also has Liam Neeson in a small part early in his career.

This is definitely a high quality Neeson affair. Shame that this type of film is no longer popular in cinemas, it is also shot on beautiful Irish locations with plenty of gorgeous outdoor photography. I loved this one and highly recommend it.

One last note on this, for some reason, maybe they only made a small quantity, but the Blu-ray for this seems to be sold-out/on backorder so may be difficult to track down. It's worth finding if you like this kind of drama mixed with revenge type of story.
 
Movie information in first post provided by The Movie Database

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