Middletown (B.F.S., 2006) D: Brian Kirk, w/ Matthew Macfadyen, Daniel Mays. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
Cameraman Adam Suschitzky’s remarkable ability to create oppression from shafts of light, Debbie Wiseman’s score, which breathes evil with every note, and an effectively bleak and mud-soaked village in Northern Ireland help make the Reverend Gabriel Hunter a melodramatic villain so loathsome he’s almost Victorian.
The story is completely contemporary. It’s easy to see a metaphor for current religious conflicts when Gabriel returns to his boyhood village to take over the church, but, except for a brief opening quote, the focus stays on the smaller story. Gabriel sees sin everywhere, particularly in his brother, and he’s determined to clean house. There are deeper personal issues at work, and matters escalate to fine Gothic madness the night his brother’s wife gives birth.
Matthew Macfadyen, best known for his Darcy opposite Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth in Pride And Prejudice, does a fine job as Gabriel, and the rest of the cast turn in solid, professional work.
The extras are merely a page or two of professional bio and a credits list. But Macfadyen, the un-actory faces around him, the seldom-seen setting and great atmosphere make this a fun renter.
EXTRAS Macfadyen and Mays bios and credits. Widescreen.