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In the front row pew, a young boy named Gabriel sits as his father and a preacher tell him: "There are certain people who are chosen by God for some special purposes of His own. And we believe you are such a one." Thus unfolds the destiny of Gabriel in Brian Kirk's riveting Middletown. After almost an entire lifetime spent in religious instruction, Gabriel returns to his small Irish town as the new preacher. But the town is full of drinking and gambling, and Gabriel's younger brother Jim and sister-in-law Caroline are no exceptions. Soon Gabriel learns that Caroline does not attend church, runs the local pub across from the church on the Sabbath, and refuses to have her child baptized. Jim, the flat-broke black sheep of the family, quickly becomes caught between his brother's beliefs and his wife's strong-mindedness. As a messenger of God, Gabriel believes he must save the townspeople, especially his brother, his sister-in-law, and the couple's unborn child. The battle for their souls brings about some surprising revelations on all sides. With a commanding use of shadows, Kirk exquisitely captures the ominous tone of Daragh Carville's dynamic script. Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice) gives an authoritative performance as Gabriel, ably balancing stoicism and vulnerability. Daniel Mays (Vera Drake) perfectly captures Jim's reckless sensibility and quest for responsibility, while Eva Birthistle (Breakfast on Pluto) plays the headstrong Caroline with aplomb. Middletown is an explosive, dark drama that is sure to captivate viewers from its opening scene to its potent finale.
Film Information Collapse
[MIDDL] | 2006 | 90 | Narrative Feature
Directed by: Brian Kirk
Foreign Title: (Middletown)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Born in Armagh, Northern Ireland, Brian Kirk now lives in London. He has directed commercials, television dramas, and short films, including Baby Doll and Do Armed Robbers Have Love Affairs?, which won a Fuji Film Award and a Royal Television Society nomination. He holds a BAFTA nomination for Best New Television Director, and his British television credits include Murphy's Law, which received a Best Drama Nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards and Funland, nominated for a Best Television Drama BAFTA award. For Showtime, he has directed Brotherhood. Middletown is his first feature.