Northfork

PG13
Stars:
  James Woods, Nick Nolte, Anthony Edwards, Daryl Hannah, Michele Hicks, Mark Polish

Director:  Michael Polish
Screenwriters:  Mark Polish, Michael Polish

This is the third release from independent film mavens, Mark and Michael Polish, better known as the Polish Brothers and it’s a doozie of surrealism, a vision painted by its extraordinary cinematography and whimsical direction, where themes of life, death, individuality and dreams are explored.

Northfork is set in a small Montana town in 1955 which is about to be flooded by the completion of a hydroelectric dam. Most everyone has already left and those few remaining have just two more days to clear out before the water covers their homes and businesses. The film also has a basis in reality,

as many small midwestern towns were at one time lost to such government projects.

Among the strange holdouts, either unable or unwilling to leave, are Father Harlan (Nick Nolte), a priest whose heavenly stories lead a dying orphan (newcomer Duel Farnes as Irwin) to believe he’s the missing member of a group of roaming angels, a young married couple, a man with two wives who has built an ark, and a band of Felliniesque gypsy/ghosts seeking the “lost angel” (Anthony Edwards as the handless, vision-challenged “Happy”; Daryl Hannah as the nurturer Flower Hercules among them; with Robin Sachs and Ben Foster). Meanwhile, a band of trench-coated government men (Peter Coyote, James Woods, Mark Polish) has the difficult task of trying to seek them out and evict them.

Lotta says: Northfork blends and twists reality into many shapes; it’s lightly humorous but it’s more a movie to experience for its style and atmosphere. As such, this one will fly over many a head. But, I enjoyed the look and feel of it. It was exceptionally well photographed in muted tones to depict the past and superbly edited to preserve the Polish Brothers’ vision.

Reviewed: July 5, 2003