Northfork 2003 PG-13 CC

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(102) IMDb 6.4/10

Set in 1955, the residents of a small Montana community are forced to move their homes to make way for a new dam.

James Woods, Nick Nolte
1 hour 44 minutes


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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Drama
Director Michael Polish
Starring James Woods, Nick Nolte
Supporting actors Douglas Sebern, Claire Forlani, Duel Farnes, Mark Polish, Daryl Hannah, Graham Beckel, Josh Barker, Peter Coyote, Jon Gries, Rick Overton, Robin Sachs, Ben Foster, Anthony Edwards, Mike J. Regan, Mae Fassett, Perry Hofferber, Mark Twogood, Marshall Bell
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

I like a lot of bad movies.
Eric Paulsen
And the last is the very magical story of the orphaned boy who makes a deal with a very odd group of angels.
Also, this film is just an absolutely beautifully executed work of cinema.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 19, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is based on the first screenplay by brothers Michael and Mark Polish, though it is the third of their trilogy to be filmed.
Set in a small Montana town in the 1950s, this is the story of town with a mythic past that is now doomed. A dam will submerge the town soon, so there is palpable, imagic tension as three storylines develop: first, a young adopted boy, dying, is returned to Fr. Harlan (Nick Nolte) as his parents leave town, so the priest keeps vigil over the youngster and comforts him as much as possible; secondly, six agents (including James Woods and Mark Polish) with a monetary incentive have been sent to roust out those landholders who refuse to budge, and they have a number of surrealistic experiences along the way; finally, whenever the young boy collapses he encounters four purported angels who seem to be searching for him.
It would be interesting to give this premise to a half dozen filmmakers and see the various movies they come up with; in the Polish brothers' case, we get a remarkable melange of images and themes -- angels, death, wings, bearing witness to each other, loneliness and human grief -- all set in a dream-like landscape. The cast is flawless, the pacing is slow (which makes it easier to enjoy the extraordinary visuals), and the stark situation is emphasized using a variety of techniques to film in color though almost always appearing to be black & white.
It's fascinating to listen to the brothers' commentary which tells us, among other things, that these guys were basically bankrupt when they made the film and that their father became the production designer because he was the only person who, when asked to build an ark, just said "How big?".
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Daniel M. Hobbs on May 4, 2004
Format: DVD
In 1955, the town of Northfork, Montana was flooded when the gates of a completed dam were closed. Against this backdrop, two related stories are told. In one, three teams of men, motivated by rewards of lakefront property, attempt to get local die-hards to move on before their homes are flooded. This story is filled with humor - visual gags, offbeat characters, and a 100% off-the-wall scene at the local diner. But there are human touches, too, as one father-and-son team argue over whether to save their wife/mother's coffin from the rising flood.
In the other story, Father Harlan (played with heart-breaking tenderness by Nick Nolte) takes care of Irwin, a young orphan who is dying. As Irwin drifts in and out of consciousness, his fevered mind creates visions of angelic beings and reunion out of the landscape and his pitifully few belongings - a model airplane, a comic book, bird feathers he's collected.
This film is very carefully crafted. The two, interleaved stories are visually unified by the "big sky" landscape and a color palette of muted blues, grays, and tans (everything - land, water, buildings, machinery, people - is color-coordinated). The transitions between the two stories deliberately link the fantasy-like character of Irwin's angelic visions with the absurd elements in the evacuation story, and at one point suggest that Irwin's dreams may not be that far off the mark. And finally, Nolte's monologue, inspired by his own experience, goes straight to the heart of the matter.
The result, for me, was a gentle and moving meditation on the inevitability of change and loss, and the grace we find through humor and acceptance. This is visual poetry, a movie to watch again and again.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 8, 2004
Format: DVD
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?
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