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John Lamb, Published October 23 2009

A bitter bite of Minny Apple

When director Patrick Coyle was looking to shoot his second independent film, “Into Temptation,” he cast stars from the small screen. When it came for a setting, he cast his hometown, Minneapolis.

“Locations become very, very important when you just don’t have money to throw at problems,” Coyle says. “Because I know the city and the city’s secrets, and I’m as connected as I am here, I’m kind of able to get what I want.”

What he got was a stylish noir thriller that makes its regional debut at the Fargo Theatre tonight.

The film could be set in any major city, provided it was big enough to have a thriving sex industry.

Kristen Chenoweth (“Pushing Daisies” and “The West Wing”) stars as a prostitute who confesses to Father John Buerlein (Jeremy Sisto of “Law & Order”) her plan to commit suicide on her birthday. Buerlein, nearly burnt out by his inner-city parish, takes to the street to find the mysterious call girl.

In addition to showing off iconic Minneapolis landmarks such as the Stone Arch Bridge and Café Havana, Coyle also shows a seedier side to the Minny Apple in order to tell the story.

“I never wanted to spend 13 hours (in the adult store Sexworld), but I spent a lot of time in that neighborhood during the shoot of this,” Coyle says. “I think your eyes would be opened if you spent some time there after midnight.”

In his review for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, reviewer Colin Covert called “Temptation” “haunting, carefully crafted” and Coyle’s script “trim and efficient.”

“This is one of very few American films to deal with religious beliefs about faith and salvation with empathy and insight,” Covert said.

Coyle has heard similar claims.

“Minneapolitans have embraced this film as their own. And Catholics have as well. And both of those reactions surprise me,” said the director, a Catholic born and raised. “They think it depicts a practitioner of the faith in way that’s ultimately positive.”

He said the highest compliment he got for the film was from a former priest who said it was very believable and, “you made me miss my former profession.”

If you go

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533