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Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Daniel Mays, Eva Birthistle, Gerard McSorley, Sorcha Cusack, Bronagh Gallagher

Director: Brian Kirk

A small Irish town, presumably in the 1950s or early 1960s. Jim (Mays) bets on cockfights with money made from smuggling and other rackets, while his heavily-pregnant wife (Birthistle), who runs the local pub, languishes in a mud-surrounded caravan. Jim, however, is our hero...

The villain of this piece is Jim's brother Gabriel (Macfadyen, whose accent varies from Irish to Scottish), a hellfire priest who takes over the local church to condemn Jim's wife and browbeat the community.

This is a strong, stern interesting drama for most of the way, strikingly shot, especially at night, by Adam Suschitzky, but its resolution is unsatisfactory. Why would the town come round to support Gabriel at the 11th hour when he is so obviously off his rocker? And which of the brothers will inherit the 'business'?
It seems that the future of Middletown is still very much obscure.

Alan Frank

Ireland 2006. UK Distributor: Verve Pictures. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 24 Feb 2007