"We are all angels. It is what we do with our wings that separates us." In the next two days, the town of Northfork will cease to exist. The year is 1955 and Northfork is literally about to be "dammed," flooded to make way for a new hydroelectric project.
The third film by the Polish brothers is an opaque, elliptical dream spun out of old and invented Americana. In the 1950's, a hydroelectric dam is about to wipe out the Montana town that gives the movie its name, and a grim squad of government agents must persuade the last remaining residents to leave. One of them, the only child left in the local orphanage, dreams that a band of angels has come to town, and he tries to persuade them to take him away with them. At least this is what seems to be happening. But the film declines to mark a clear boundary between dream and reality; instead it unfurls a series of overlapping, enigmatic stories into a quilt of homegrown surrealism and soft-focus spirituality. The wide Montana landscapes and strange Hopperesque interiors are lovely to behold, but while it is easy to admire the filmmakers' unique magic, it is harder to fall completely under their spell. — A. O. Scott
2003-07-11 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Northfork