Movie Review (drama): “Northfork” (2003)

September 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm (drama, fantasy, movies, Uncategorized)

I’m sorry this movie went completely under my radar when it first came out, because it must have been amazing on the big screen. “Northfork” is dreamy and magical, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The year is 1955, and the town of Northfork, Montana is 72 hours away from becoming a lake. Almost everybody’s been relocated. A team of company men (featuring the always wonderful James Woods) has been dispatched to talk the few remaining, stubborn straggles into leaving.

Meanwhile, the town priest (Nick Nolte), who ran a school and orphanage in the town’s heyday, is caring for Irwin, a desperately ill little boy who is too fragile to be moved.

About half of the action revolves around the company men, and their efforts to move the eccentric stragglers. These semi-surreal set pieces are loads of fun, showing a quirky, dry sense of humor that isn’t common in American films.

The other half of the film takes place in the nearly comatose Irwin’s fevered dreams. He imagines a strange set of characters, Flower Hercules, Cup of Tea, Cod, and Happy, whom he hopes will take him “A thousand miles away.” The strangeness of his dreams seems to seep into the world of the company men.

Slow-moving but beautiful, sometimes very funny, and touching without being sappy, “Northfork” is a gem.

5 out of 5 stars.

Rated PG-13. The content is OK for older kids and teens, but most of them won’t want to sit through it.

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