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In 1927, in Kingdom County, Vermont, a large dam is to be built; however, Noel Lord, a logger and cedar-oil harvester, won't give up his lifetime lease on land that will be flooded. The dam company increases its offer of cash, but Noel refuses. He asks for a trade: a stand of pines for his lease. The company rejects that deal but offers to make Noel a ranger in a new park. Noel, meanwhile, talks with his Indian mate, the spirited Bangor, about their moving to Oregon and buying a saw mill. She wants him to take the company's money; he's pig-headed. Is Noel headed for confrontation with the company and the law or can Bangor prevail to affect a truce? Written by
Kingdom County, Vermont, 1927. Noel Lord (Rip Torn) lives with his Indian mate, Bangor (Tantoo Cardinal) in the area where a large dam is to be built; Noel, however, is not willing to give up on his land, and he'll have to fight the dam company in order to prevent the County from any possible destruction.
"Where the Rivers Flow North" is a gripping, contemplative story powered by the memorable performances of Rip Torn (recently seen in the small but juicy role of Louis XV in Sofia Coppola's underrated "Marie Antoinette") and Tantoo Cardinal ("Dances With Wolves", "Smoke Signals"). Director Jay Craven (who also co-wrote the script with Don Bredes, based on Howard Frank Mosher's novel) and cinematographer Paul Ryan crafted this powerful story with unique, contemplative pace/visuals, which remind me of Terrence Malick's and John Huston's best moments. It's an underrated independent period piece of the first (electric) half of the 90's, usually regarded as the rise of Quentin Tarantino's burlesque ("Pulp Fiction" is a masterpiece indeed, but the man suffers from Orson Welles' Syndrome), Todd Solondz's disturbing suburbia, Danny Boyle's dark vision of the UK (let's not mention that "Beach" flick with DiCaprio, though)... Jay Craven should be more regarded on the lists of great indie filmmakers as well. He's been leading a respectful, discreet career and it's always a pleasure to see a constant talent like his.
My vote: 8/10.
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