Middletown (2006)

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An overzealous priest returns to his home town and ends up battling against his brother for the heart of the locals.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Hunter
Mick Lally ...
David Herlihy ...
Frankie McCafferty ...
Marie Jones ...
Lalor Roddy ...
Tyrone McKenna ...


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

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Release Date:

3 November 2006 (Ireland)  »

Box Office


£1,000,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


The writer Daragh Carville can be seen briefly drinking a pint in one of the bar scenes. See more »

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User Reviews

When religion and belief becomes smitten
31 July 2013 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

An interesting take on the classic battle between church and congregation, and also in the classic way of thinking the best thoughts backfire, especially when you groom someone into being fit to a role, here as a priest, which turns out to be more of a devil.

In a poor Irish town called Middletown in the sixties a young boy, Gabriel, is chosen by the priest and the father to be the next reverend of the congregation. When the boy 15 years later comes back as a priest, he is immediately clashing with all of the greedy, playful and sinful things happening around in his congregation. His family and brother is caught right in the middle, running the town pub serving the devil's liquor.

It's dark, gloomy, poor and tragic in a stylish way. I liked the tone of this Gothic style film. It has a tension which is a plus, and it also starts interesting. I really like one of the times here; grooming a small boy into becoming an enemy of his own breed of people. You need to love a gloomy Gothic wife to enjoy this. Otherwise it will might be to sad and depressing.

The first Tim I saw this I wasn't too keen on the music. I though if was often too loud in the mixing, and a bit misfit to the stuations, and that different music would have helped the story a lot. The second and third time I saw I it, I thought completely opposite. I think the music is great, and catching the theme and situations fabulously. Tragic music, in a classic style, to make the tension the film makers really want to do. Why is the dialects, accents if you like, so different between brothers and family. The ending might also be a question to many. See for yourself.

This is TV-director Brian Kirk's first feature film, and also this has a TV-feeling about it. It's what I would say filmed in a TV-style. However, I loved the score. I've heard it, or something very similar in another film, but it's very well fitted of this tragedy.

I thought of a old Norewgian saying when watching this, translated into this in English: "When trash comes to honor, it doesn't know how to act."

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