In a near-empty Northfork orphanage, Father Harlan gently tends to Irwin, an eight-year-old who lies between a dream state and death. As orphanage caretaker Harlan reads aloud about Northfork's years-ago forced evacuation to make way for a hydro-electric dam, Irwin's imagination takes flight. While a team of six men evacuate the last remaining citizens of the town, Irwin, too, invents a cast of characters to prepare himself for his own evacuation. (the above states the caretaker - who is actually the priest - is reading about a years-ago evacuation. In the movie, the evacuation is taking place as the boy lays dying!) Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Mr Stalling says that he is waiting for a sign from God, when Walter O'Brien visits him at the ark. Walter imparts a tale about when the water has risen, men will come by in a boat to take him and the two Mrs Stallings's to safety. They will not go, because they are waiting for a sign and they will drown. And God will say, I sent you a boat, what more did you want? This story also appears in the The West Wing season one episode "Take This Sabbath Day" and is told by the Karl Malden character, Father Thomas Cavanaugh. See more »
Jigger can be heard pumping a shotgun between shots, but when we approach, we find he has a double-barrelled shotgun, which makes virtually no noise during reloading. See more »
[reading a letter]
To the loving O'Brien family. It has been brought to our attention that the remains of a Mrs. Patricia O'Brien have yet to be excavated. Please make arrangements immediately.
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It's a shame this movie is rated PG 13--it is really quite suitable for anyone--though young kids might not follow it too well.
It belongs to that wonderful genre of serio-comic ghost/angel stories that would have to include everything from Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" to Wenders's "Wings of Desire."
The photography is stunning, the acting first rate, and--wonder of wonders--the tone is uplifting.
My only criticism is that there is not much ambiguity in the film. The two interwoven stories seem intriguingly mysterious at first; but they resolve themselves a little too nicely for my taste. As the director points out in his commentary on the DVD, all the ingredients of Irwin's story are on his bedside table. The symbolism is just a trifle too pat for me.
But what a lark! My favorite scene has to be when the relocation team tries to get breakfast at a diner. This is practically theatrical in its magic--a tour de force of witty acting--subtle, playful, and positively rhythmic--coupled with striking cinematography and an acute eye for the grotesque.
"Northfork" is funny, touching, gorgeous to look at, magical (with the above reservations) and has not one single car-chase.
An easy nine stars.
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