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Northfork Review

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Montana, 1955: the town of Northfork will cease to exist in two days, as it will be flooded so the land can be used for a hydroelectric plant. The Evacuation Committee has the task of rounding up all the stragglers, a job that becomes far from simple…

★★★★★

The Wayans seem to be the exception to the rule that a movie brought to you by 'the brothers' is going to be a good thing. Four years ago, Mark and Michael Polish's first offering, Twin Falls Idaho, deservedly won high praise for its quirky vision of the dreamlike world of conjoined twins (played by the Polish twins themselves). Their follow-up, Jackpot, was as grounded in reality as their debut was ethereal, but continued their painstaking devotion to evoking characters and places through careful detail.

Northfork, the conclusion to their trilogy, is their most starry and yet possibly least commercial film for, despite the presence of James Woods and Nick Nolte, this is as dreamily surreal as Twins Falls Idaho, but a fair bit obscurer into the bargain.

Reality blends with the imaginary, as biblical imagery is mixed with Gothic in a place that feels like a Norman Rockwell picture turned upside down. Every tiny aspect of the universe here comes from the filmmakers' imagination, and while this occasionally leaves us bemused, the film as a whole is a magical, otherworldly trip into undiscovered areas of cinema.

They’re not quite up with the Coens yet, but Northfork should establish the Polish brothers as highly original filmmakers — while giving James Woods’ career a new lease of life along the way.

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