Middletown review

Beware the devil in priest’s clothing: Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen swaps MI5 for the pulpit in this gloomy Irish drama about a fire’n’brimstone preacher who’s a few pages short of a Gospel. Gabriel (Macfadyen) is a local boy ordained as a priest, who returns to Middletown to find it sliding into sin with cockfighting, gambling and a pub that serves Guinness on the Sabbath. Not exactly Sodom and Gomorrah, but it’s enough to get Gabe hot under the (dog) collar and unleash some very un-Christian retribution. With its miserablist ’60s setting – drizzle outside, mouldy flock wallpaper inside – Middletown could have been a stark Gothic horror about religious mania. Instead it errs on the side of caution, never delving beyond the two-dimensional as Macfadyen’s steely-eyed bogeyman delivers one Bible-bashing speech after another.

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