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Movie Review:

"Northfork"

This review would have been posted a while ago, but severe storms went through the Chicago area this evening (believe me, I was sitting watching my sump pump) and my DSL line went out.

Now, having Internet access again, here's a review of a film that got four stars from Roger Ebert, and whose trailer looked fascinating, and which has a terrific cast including Nick Nolte, Kyle MacLachlan, and James Woods.

I'm sorry to report that I found this movie to be... well, it's either too deep for me, or it's a sad mishmash. I'm leaning toward the latter.

What it's about, in a nutshell: it's 1955, and the town of Northfork, somewhere in Montana, is going to be relocated, and all its residents evacuated, because developers want to turn it into a lake. Men who look like federal agents in black suits and fedoras and driving big black 40's era cars, are arranging for the evacuations. There's something in it for them: an acre and a half of property on the lake, but only if they evacuate everyone.

Well, of course there's some resistance, and there's also a bizarre storyline about a sick child who's abandoned by his parents, and then what might be a dream sequence involving the kid and some "angels" (one of whom is played by an almost-unrecognizeable Daryl Hannah). There's a shot at the beginning of this film that leads you to believe, if you can follow the very-hard-to-follow story, that the entire film is a dream sequence.

I'll give this film credit for this: the cinematography is terrific; Michael Polish (the director, whose brother Mark appears in the film as one of the "agents", and who directed a highly-acclaimed film that I have not seen, "Twin Falls, Idaho") has created a bleak, stark, almost colorless vista of rural Montana; in this way the film is somewhat reminiscent of the 1978 film "Days of Heaven", which is filled with shots of the Big Sky country. The characters are interesting, no doubt about it, but they don't ever really seem to relate to each other. You'll be amused at the thought of Nick Nolte playing a rural priest, and his performance is the best thing about this movie.

I don't want you to think that because this is an "art" film, or an allegory, which it appears to be, that I didn't like it for that reason. There are plenty of films I've seen this year alone that aren't in the "boobs and bombs" category, that I loved. But this one just didn't get through.

AYRating: * 1/2