RTE Television - The Afternoon Show review of Middletown (2006)



Michael Doherty's Mad About Movies

Matthew MacFadyen, Eva Birthistle
Director Brian Kirk
Plot A zealous minister returns home with a mission to clean up his own parish.
Michaels Verdict Traditionally, a tale about religious oppression set in a rural Northern Irish milieu would have one reaching for the service revolver. Too often in the past, this particular genre has been the graveyard of good sense and a haven of bad art. Thankfully, Kirk and his team are too skilled as filmmakers to fall into that trap, with the result that Middletown is one of the finest films to emerge from Ireland in many years.

Beautifully shot in a gothic style by Seamus McGarvey, Middletown is the story of a zealous minister (Matthew Macfadyen), who returns from the missions to take over the pastoral reins of his home village from easygoing Mick Lally, much to the delight of his father, Gerard McSorley, and his brother, Daniel Mays. Soon, however, they realise that the new man is now on a mission to stamp out all the perceived vice in the region, even if it means turning his family and friends against him. Well-written by Daragh Carville, Middletown is a superbly acted and beautifully shot drama. Indeed, feature film debutant, Kirk, frames and lights every shot with skill and precision redolent of the great Terence Davies. Watch out for this guy.