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Identical-twin filmmakers Michael and Mark Polish have been squatting in the indie leftfield since 1999 debut Twin Falls Idaho. The dreamy Northfork arrives as the third part of their `trilogy' (part two being 2001's Jackpot) - - each named for a northwestern American town.

The Polishes herd an impressive ensemble here, with James Woods playing a man forcibly evacuating the last residents of the titular '50s Montana town before it's flooded by a hydroelectric dam. Among them is Nick Nolte's craggy priest, who's caring for terminally ill orphan Irwin (Duel Farnes).

When focusing on Woods and his colleagues, Northfork exhibits an engaging sense of humour. Sadly, half the running time involves Irwin's fantasy about a group of angels (including Daryl Hannah and Anthony Edwards) who debate whether or not he's a lost flock-member. Here the story dissolves into clumsy symbolism, leaving it feeling like an exercise in magical realism without either the magic or the realism.


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