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Liam Neeson's Three Projects With 100% Rotten Tomatoes Scores Aren't Even Narrative Films

With a filmography that extends back to 1978, Liam Neeson has amassed a diverse portfolio, appearing in blockbuster franchises like "Star Wars," action movies like "Taken," and Oscar-winning fare like his breakthrough film, "Schindler's List." His laundry list of collaborators is equally impressive, as he's worked with the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese, and Steve McQueen, among others. It's surprising, then, that despite achieving numerous accolades, none of his narrative features have earned 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, even if it is an uneven metric for determining a film's worth.

To find the upper echelon of Neeson's filmography — at least according to Rotten Tomatoes' standards — one must dig into the actor's work in non-narrative features. Both 1995's "Lumière and Company" and Ken Burns' 2022 docuseries "The U.S. and the Holocaust" have secured 100% ratings on the aggregator. The animated anthology series "Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi," in which Neeson reprised his role as Qui-Gon Jinn from the prequel trilogy, also has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score.

Neeson's participation in "Lumière and Company" wasn't exactly intentional — he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. An homage to the early filmmaking duo the Lumière brothers, "Lumière and Company" is an anthology film-meets-documentary consisting of 41 short films (none exceed 52 seconds), all of which are shot on the brothers' original Cinématographe camera. The result is a collage of cinematic styles that Roger Ebert likened to directorial haikus helmed by filmmakers like David Lynch, Wim Wenders, and Abbas Kiarostami.

Neeson's best-rated projects are outliers in his filmography

For director John Boorman's contribution to "Lumière and Company," he visited the set of Neil Jordan's 1996 biopic "Michael Collins," starring Liam Neeson as the titular protagonist. In period costume, Neeson, Aidan Quinn, and Stephen Rea peer into the ancient camera — a moment that at once exists in the camera's late 19th century roots, the early 20th century Ireland of "Michael Collins," and the present-day 1990s.

Neeson's next 100%-rated project would be far more intentional on the actor's part. Ken Burns is responsible for some of the most illuminating documentaries of all time, so it's no surprise that many venerated actors — including Neeson, Matthew Rhys, Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, Werner Herzog, Hope Davis, and Bradley Whitford — signed on to work as voice actors in "The U.S. and the Holocaust."

The subject matter is especially salient for Neeson, who rose to fame playing Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's historical drama, "Schindler's List." Despite starring in one of the most famous Holocaust films ever made, Neeson found Burns' documentary enlightening. "My jaw was down here," the actor admitted on "The View." "[There was] information I never knew about."