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 »
When the six committee members get out of their three cars at the dam, we hear eight doors slam. 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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I enjoyed this film's surreal nature and mysteriousness of the characters. The cinematography is beautiful, and the film is well-cast. Although I usually do not like Nick Nolte and the roles he plays, he showed great depth in this film.
Viewers who are unaccustomed to abstract film-making will find the plot disturbingly confusing, but I thought the transcendent themes overode the ambiguuities. If you absolutely HAVE to "understand" the film, just listen to the director's comments on the DVD. Doing this, however, diminishes the abstract beauty of the film--the way an art expert can ruin the experience of a fascinating painting in a museum.
By an odd coincidence, I had toured the locale for this film only a few months before purchasing it, and I thought the director captured the awesome yet austere nature of western Montana well.
The film is worth seeing just for the scenery and cinematography alone, and it offers many interesting topics for sociological discussions. I have already recommended it to number of my friends who appreciate esoteric films.
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