In a near-empty Northfork orphanage, Father Harlan gently tends to Irwin, an eight-year-old who lies between a dream state and death. As orphanage caretaker Harlan reads aloud about Northforks years-ago forced evacuation to make way for a hydro-electric dam, Irwins imagination takes flight. While a team of six men evacuate the last remaining citizens of the town, Irwin, too, invents a cast of characters to prepare himself for his own evacuation. (the above states the caretaker - who is actually the priest - is reading about a years-ago evacuation. In the movie, the evacuation is taking place as the boy lays dying!)
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A gem to be savored. Tenderly atmospheric. An indie movie that iswordlessly beautiful. Surrealism echos throughout. Few films have thepower to unlock a dimension that is beyond our grasp but this movietouches a realm that resides in us all. Change is a most profoundthing. Death mirrors life in its own inevitable way. Don't be baffledor bewildered, angels are among us, just not quite where you mightimagine. Some are orphans, stranded here through no fault of their own,who yearn for a place called home. There are 31 flavors of symbolismhidden here, and they are all to be found in frostbitten Montana in theyear 1955. Quote from the movie: "Depends on how you look at it...halfway to heaven or halfway to hell." Esoteric, offbeat,meditative. A movie that invites repeated viewings which offers manyrevelations.
I typically enjoy complicated, thought provoking films. 45 minutes into the movie I was totally clueless. I stopped the DVD 1/2 way through the film and went to the "special features" to watch the documentary & background about the directors. That helped, a little. I still don't get a lot of the symbolism & I was anticipating a dramatic flood scene at the end that never came.I appreciate the beautiful cinematography and I think I appreciate the director's intentions. The wonderful performances of James Woods, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, Anthony Edwards deserve acknowledgement. Sadly, NORTHFORK left me with an empty, unresolved feeling. A feeling that NORTHFORK could have been better.
After some further thought about this film, I find it's far too easy todismiss this as the Boy's dream. I have actually received somespiritual strength from Northfork.......Angels do exist....wedefinitely are entertained by Angels....most of the time we aren't evenaware of it..... At a point of spiritual and emotional turbidity in mylife, I personally really needed this film. Yes, as I wrote before, itspeaks to so many......can't wait to get to Heaven..."Being so sick of all of the FX and Formula stuff, I found this film tobe genuine Cinema. All I can say is it touched me in so many ways, thatI still am sorting it all out. North Fork is a wonderful film. One thatbrings the viewer's mind out of the gutter and into the heart. Thespiritual aspect is so very intriguing to me. Pay attention, as you'llneed to use the brain and heart God gave you to follow the story. Ithink it's possibly a bit over the heads of some, but I feel those arethe individuals it speaks to most importantly. I want to view itseveral more times, just so I can take it all in!The Industry needs to study this film to realize we do exist.My thanks to all involved in the making of this film."
Northfork (Michael Polish, 2003)Michael and Mark Polish, the same writing team behind the delightfully twisted Twin Falls, Idaho, now unveils Northfork. I'm not sure there are enough good things I can say about this movie, and yet I feel I lost a lot in translation from the big screen.The basic structure around which all the stories revolve is the moving of the (real) town of Northfork, Montana, to higher ground in 1955. Various subplots involve three teams of related men hired to move the locals who refuse to leave their homes; the priest who runs the local orphans' home, which is left with a sole orphan to place; and four individuals impossible to describe who are searching for a relative.The acting in this film is simply superb, which is to be expected given its high-powered cast. James Woods, Nick Nolte, Kyle McLachlan, Claire Forlani, Daryl Hannah, Peter Coyote, Michele Hicks, Ben Foster, and Anthony Edwards, among many others, all make appearances (one wonders only why the Polish brothers didn't case their favorite actor, underrated comic genius Garrett Morris, in this one). The sound transfer to the DVD is one of the worst I've ever heard, however; the voices are mixed so painfully softly compared to the ambient sound that subtitles are a necessity in some parts of the film unless you want the cops citing you for noise violations. Use the subtitles. You want to catch what's going on. Despite the darkness of the locations and cinematography (which lends the film a claustrophobic, ominous air throughout), the main feeling of the work is a sense of pure whimsy. Angels in Montana in 1955? Well, that would seem to be the case, along with a conspiracy to hunt them down and amputate their wings. James Woods actually says the words "Whatchoo talkin' bout, Willis?" and pulls it off. The eviction agents find themselves in increasingly absurd situations as they travel from house to house, and the orphan, who is terminally ill, orchestrates wilder and wilder delusions in his head. (Possibly. It gets hard to tell what's real and what's going on in the boy's head.) I'd be hard-pressed to call Northfork a comedy, but it contains moments of sheer comic genius.Brilliant. ****
A dreamy, stunningly atmospheric film takes place in a small town of Northfork, Montana in 1955. The government officials arrive to evacuate the town about to be inundated by a new hydroelctrical dam. There are the other visitors in the town, the angels from another time but they only seen by a dying boy Irvin. A local priest (Nick Nolte in a quiet heartbreaking performance) takes care of the boy. Irvin pleads with the angels to leave the place with them...There is some unearthly quality in the film, some dignified mourning and sublime sadness when you suddenly realize the inevitable finality of everything - humans and their relationships, cities, countries, civilizations, the whole world as we know it. Death and birth have something in common - we go through them in the ultimate loneliness. I cannot recall the film that affected me in the same way and as deeply as "Northfork" did, the film so beautiful and so tender, so quiet and so powerful, so heartbreaking and so moving. Even now, after several months since I saw it, tears come to my eyes when I only think of it.After I saw it, I had to talk to somebody about it. I contacted a friend who had recommended the film to me and I asked, "Please tell me what I just saw?" And my friend replied with the words, "You just saw one of the greatest films of modern times. One of these days others will see the light."
This movie can only be compared to Solaris. Only more more boring and pretentious. A waste of excellent actors. Narcissitic. A revival of the absurd and in that sense perhaps brilliant. Awonderful substitute for Xanax.
I went to this film with hopes for a memorable experience. I left with the sense that I had witnessed something embarrassingly trite and muddled. The only performance that had any merit at all was that of Nick Nolte, who attempted to infuse some passion and soul into a dreadful corpse of a film. His quiet dignity and understated dedication in the bleakness of scenery and impending destruction were the only aspects of this film that resonated with me. Oddly enough, his performance was metaphorical of the film itself. Praise to you, Nick. You've still got it. Otherwise, the acting was flat. As for the story, it was easy enough to capture the point in the first ten minutes of the film. The rest was devoted to failed attempts at metaphor and other symbolism that descended to the (surely) unintentionally laughable. I find it hard to swallow the pontifical comments of actors and directors trying to sell a movie who suggest that if you don't like what they have crafted, you don't "get it." It was metaphysically simplistic, at best, lacking in feeling (except as noted above) and, in my view, a cynical bore.
I think some people are overdoing their reviews of this film. It wasn't that bad. I found that most of the writers of bad reviews of this film found themselves confused with it. I didn't seem to have that problem. Don't blame the producers/director if you fail to understand the film. I found it to be very unique. It's not a masterpeice but I wouldn't classify it as trash eithor. Some very wonderfully shot scenes in this film. There are also some touching moments. Maybe if they actually had a budget for this film they could have put in some CGI or missle launching robots to please the ignorant. Considering the fact that they didn't have squat to make this movie I think they did a great job. I also praise the actors in this film for investing their time (pretty much without pay) to a film that was bound to not succeed. It showed that they themselves were fond of the story and were willing to make sacrifices in order to be apart of it. With some real money behind it I think this film would have been a great success.
If you take some time to read the various reviews of this title, one point becomes strikingly clear - you either love or hate this film. As someone who appreciates films outside of mainstream Hollywood that are shot with beautiful cinematography and engaging actors, I was surprised to find myself among the latter group of individuals that would loath a second viewing. Be warned, Northfork is neither a documentary nor a conventional drama but rather a bizarre fantasy about death involving (among other things) a terminally ill boy and some angels. The movie is full of symbolism and unique characters, but with the exception of the orphan who was left behind to die, I felt no emotional connection to any of it. Even the town, which was as significant a character as any, feels hollow and lifeless. We are given no real history of the town or any explanation of the angels which may inhabit it (unless I missed it). Although I believe I understood part of what the directors were trying to achieve, it wasn't enough to keep me from fast-forwarding though several sections including the last twenty-thirty minutes. Northfork is tedious. After vesting an hour and twenty minutes I lost my commitment to finish it and I didn't see anything at 8x speed to rekindle my interest.
Just go with the flow and enjoy this one with all its fine idealism and lackof conventional structure. It is most definately not a formula movie so ifyou like reality television shows, and perhaps even if you like any primetime television, this is probably not a movie for you. It is notpretentious or pedantic or pedagogic, but maybe guilty of exceeding itsreach, but its grasp is firm and even handed. It speaks on the touchy,difficult topics of death and redemption, new beginnings, teleogy, changesthat occur in life and how our interpretations of the same event are formedbased on our perspectives of relative gain and loss. Not surprisingly, inthe end, you are left to sort out these things for yourself. It is a modernmasterpiece.
Truly an orginal film, and those are the best kind. Wonderful, and unlike anything you've seen-probably. If you like quirky odd films, Cohen brothers?, this film should also fit for you.
Reading other reviews should make this painfully obvious, but this film isnot for everyone.I wholeheartedly enjoyed it from start to finish - but not because I'msmarter or more sensitive than people that hated it. I just happen tolikethis sort of thing. It's slow and confusing, and could easily beconsideredpretentious. Anyone giving this an unqualified recommendation is beingirresponsible.This film is all about the atmosphere, and not at all about the plot orthecharacters. The story and the people in it are there to serve the mood ofthe film, not vice versa. The mood is gentle, brooding, and detached.It'sa work of quiet, subtle beauty.If you watch it hoping for some kind of "meaning" or an interesting storyorrealistic characters, you'll be disappointed and maybe angry. If youwatchit patiently just for the sake of having a unique experience, you mightjustlove it.
DISCLAIMER: MAY CONTAIN WHAT SOME WOULD CONSIDER SPOILERS!What an incredible movie. The Polish brothers have definitely won aplace in my heart with "Northfork." This movie is storytelling art atits finest!This movie will have you wondering whether you are living in reality orlost in some dream. Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, James Woods, PeterCoyote, and Anthony Edwards make up an all-star cast that weaves awhimsical tale about life and death; and what we make of life anddeath. However, their fame does not detract from the movie one bit.Duel Farnes plays Irwin, an ill child returned to the care of FatherHarlan (Nolte) and his orphanage, Halo Home. Farnes is excellent,possessing a clarity and maturity that is astounding and mesmerizing.Sly comedy, beautiful imagery, and a moving story of a boy striving tobe a part of a family and leave his illness ensues. The meaning isprofound. However, others have commented that they lose sight of itsconnection. Pay close attention to the subtle jokes and especially toIrwin's belongings on the bedside table and some things may be moreclear. Yet, this is a movie where you must lose yourself. Too oftenwhen we view a movie and we are only looking for things that we maycomment on later; concepts that we can discuss intelligently. In thatsearch we lose the meaning of the movie, we lose the very point thatcan touch us and change us. This movie has the power to challenge yourthinking, move your heart, and change you; but you must be willing tolose yourself in Irwin's world. I would recommend this movie to anyone,however, the more you're into "artsy-style" movies the more you willlove "Northfork."
Is this a drama? Perhaps. A comedy? Maybe. A fantasy? There's elements ofthat, certainly. A difficult film to categorize, it in turn delights andsaddens, amuses and frustrates. Strong writing and a strong cast help makethe film a real keeper.Somewhat similar to a more solemn 'Big Fish', the movie has a quirky,dreamlike feel to it that really sweeps you up and along in the storyline.The acting is impeccable, from Nick Nolte's gruff, careworn priest to theunusual quartet of angelic beings played by Daryl Hannah, Anthony Edwards,Robin Sachs and Ben Foster. James Woods' character, despite his role intheimpending death of the town, is one we sympathize with. In each of thecharacters I saw something of myself, and the underlying theme of loss wasone most of us can identify with. There's something profound here that'shard to put words to, but it leaves you with a sort of tickle at the backofyour mind. Bleak? Perhaps, but there's hope and joy in the mix too.To summarize, I found Northfork to be a moving fantasy about imagination,life, death and the inevitable changes we all must experience during ourlifetimes. Action packed it is not, but it will leave you with plenty tothink about.
I'm SO tired of this horse****! This flick is a disconnected, uninteresting, banal waste of time and money. How dare the critics call this visually stunning... haunting. It's not a f***ing painting! But maybe that's it - I got conned into paying $8.50 and wasting an hour and a half of my life to look at a slow moving painting! Well hell, if it had been billed HONESTLY I would have at least had the choice. Of course, my choice would have been NOOOO, so I guess they got me there. Lesson learned. Oh, and by the way, thanks to this total snore-fest I care even LESS about this town or what happened to it years ago. Thank you Michael Polish for making me even less interested in something I knew nothing about. What an artistic achievement.
Northfork is one of those movies where you can examine the vast metaphor's and symbolism in detail and/or- you can just let the film pour over you- it unravels into vastness.It's slow without ever going anywhere boring, and it's breathtakingly beautiful- the film has this lovely tint to it.If your into new wave fabulism, you must see this movie, and also check out rachel miller's 'angela.'highly recommended!
Okay, so I'm showing some favoritism. I have known Duel and his familyfor8 years. I hope to see him in other movies-can't wait for it to come outonvideo. There is also a younger brother (Reid)-hope to see "both" boys havemore shots at the big screen. They have had the luxury of growing up inrural Montana, there is truly no better way to grow up.
I was up at Sundance and ended up seeing 'Northfork', a new film hemmed bythe Polish Brothers. I had no preconceptions about the film, hadn't heardany early reviews. Back a few years ago, I similarly stumbled into ascreening of Twin Falls Idaho at Sundance and was transported, much to mysatisfaction, into a strange world of conjoined twins and their romanticencounter with a beautiful prostitute. That was one of my fave films ofthat year.'Northfork' has that something special that `Twin Falls' had for me. Butthis film is so grand and epic in sweep. Shot in the Northwest (I thinkentirely in Montana) the movie is just striking to look at. Beyond thevisuals, the story is very moving and probably James Woods' finestperformance in 15 years. In fact I'd say Daryl Hannah, Nick Nolte andJamesWoods give their best performances in a very long time.Northfork is a hard to story to explain, not because it is illogical butbecause it is so dense. In brief, a town in the mid 1900's is beingevacuated to make way for a Government dam project. in the background, adying orphan, recently adopted, is brought back to the town preacher(NickNolte) because his parents say he is too sick to make the journey. Theboyslips in and out of surreal dream sequences with a band of hilariously drygypsies.Northfork really took me on a journey. It has an American heartlandfeel, with a very European pace, think Felini meets John Huston. Afterseeing disappointment after disappointment at Sundance, the PolishBrothers,once again, gave me something tasty to chew on!
I like a lot of bad movies. I like a lot of quirky movies which are rejected by the mainstream. I love alegories, symbolism and the like. BUT THIS MOVIE SUCKED - it was so so so so bad. How was this movie made. Are they all on drugs? - That was two hours of my life which I will never get back; furthermore I feel like the $4.00 spent to rent the movie was stolen from me... man did this movie suck!
I (unfortunately) was seduced by the jacket presentation of the DVD. Between dreams and dark reality, the film finds it difficult to take the course. Some sensitive images avoid the viewer from being engulfed by waves of fatigue. A film truly boring and fake due to its seduction by the New Age.