Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Daryl Hannah as Flower Hercules

Directed by: Michael Polish.
Produced by: Mark & Michael Polish.
Written by: Mark & Michael Polish.
Director of Photography: M. David Mullen.
Edited by: Leo Trombetta.
Music by: Stuart Matthewman.
Released by: Paramount Classics.
Country of Origin: USA. 103 min. Rated: PG-13.
With: James Woods, Nick Nolte, Duel Farnes, Daryl Hannah & Robin Sachs.
DVD Special Features: Commentary by Director/Writer Michael Polish & Actor/Writer Mark Polish. Featurettes: "Bare-Knuckle Filmmaking: The Construction of Northfork" & "24-Frame News Segment: Northfork". Photo Gallery. Trailer.

This droll surrealistic fantasy is like a gentler David Lynch hallucination. In 48 hours the town of Northfork, MT, will lie on the floor of an underwater lake that will feed the newly built electrical power plant. O’Brien (Woods) is part of an evacuation committee that needs to fulfill its quota. He pleads with the holdouts to leave, including a man and his wives living in an ark, while oblivious to earthshattering dynamite blasts. A sickly orphan, Irwin (Farnes), is cared for by the platitude preaching Father Harlan (Nolte) after being abandoned by his foster parents. The lonely boy befriends a motley group of angels hiding in a house: the studious Happy, the supposedly androgynous Hercules Flowers (Hannah) and the sonorous voiced Cup of Tea (Sachs) - characters straight out of a children’s fairy tale who are searching for an unknown angel last seen flying over the town. The evocative cinematography alternates misty and faded interiors with scenes set against the expansive plains where mountains and billowing clouds loom in the background. The soundtrack, including honky-tonk songs of the 1955 time period, adds to the mournful atmosphere. Not for the literal minded, Northfork is whimsical, sad, and oddly original. KT
August 4, 2003

Extras: Although the special features are valuable for a comprehensive understanding of the film, they are not, in themselves, particularly entertaining. The commentary is descriptive and critical, focusing especially on the use and explanation of symbolism in the film. Geared toward those interested in film production, the Polish brothers note production details and various aesthetic decisions. Each chapter of the special features opens intriguingly (in accordance with Northfork) with a literary quote, ranging from Wendell Berry to Deuteronomy. Lisette Johnson
February 2, 2004



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