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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... Written by
Tribeca Film Festival Review
A young minister campaigns against the worldly behaviour of his flock.
This was supposed to be set in the "Bible Belt" of Northern Ireland. Well, as someone who grew up there,and was a child in the era depicted in the film it just didn't ring true! The accents were all over the place - anything but County Antrim/Derry. The church didn't resemble any I have ever seen. "The Church of God" is a pentecostal denomination but the one in the film was certainly not pentecostal! The elderly minister at the beginning was dressed in the robes of the Church of Ireland (Anglican)- and no C.of I. would call itself "The Church of God". The minister was often addressed as "Reverend" - they may do that in some parts of the world but I never heard it when I lived in that area. Ministers were addressed as "Mr ......"
This film was very badly researched and cast - fairly typical of Irish cinema - annoying! A film can have a great plot, but if it doesn't look authentic, it is rubbish.
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