Ebert gave it four stars, claiming, "There has never been a movie quite like
Northfork... It has the desolate open spaces of the first, the angels of the second,
and the feeling in both of deep sadness and pity. The movie is visionary and elegiac, more
a fable than a story, and frame by frame, it looks like a portfolio of spaces so wide, so
open, that men must wonder if they have a role beneath such indifferent skies."
Liz Braun, Jam! Movies:
"The experience of seeing Northfork is a bit like being inside a
"Dreamy and entrancing! There is nothing quite like this movie! At a moment when so
many films strive to be obvious and interchangeable as possible, it is gratifying to find
one that is puzzling, subtle and handmade."
"One of the most hauntingly beautiful films ever made."
Christian Science Monitor:
"The movie elegantly mingles drama, comedy, and low-key spiritual resonance."
"You may resist Northfork, but I doubt you'll be able to forget it."
"Possesses an undeniable haunting grandeur."
New York Post:
"Remarkable love letter to the disappearance of the American frontier."
"A hynotic masterpiece, it grabs hold and won't let go until you've fallen under its
Article from the Great Falls Tribune, May 3, 2002:
Stars at ease on Montana Movie Set
Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and an entourage of 70 sound, set
and picture people blew in to the Rocky Mountain Front this week. Crews for the
independent film Northfork were in Glasgow last week and arrived in Great Falls
on Friday. They will be working in and around Great Falls and Augusta for the next three
Although it's considered a low-budget film, Northfork features a star-studded cast
including Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, James Woods, Anthony Edwards and Peter Coyote.
Northfork is the third in a trilogy of original Americana screenplays by identical twins
Mark and Michael Polish, who spent part of their childhood in the Flathead
Valley. Preceded by Jackpot and Twin Falls Idaho, Northfork
likely will hit theaters in the fall of 2003.
An innovative script enabled the brothers to lure big-name actors, Mark
"People will go far and wide and work really hard for good material," he said.
"And you can't beat Montana, right? When Mother Nature's your art director, you can't
Set in 1955, Northfork is about the residents of a small Montana community forced to move
their homes to make way for a new dam.
"It's about the last few days of evacuating the town," Mark Polish said.
"There are three or four houses left that will not move."
The town's people also have to dig up graves and relocate their cemetery -- a situation
that forces James Woods' character to finally deal with his wife's death.
The movie contains gypsies, a priest and a dying orphan named Irwin, played by 8-year-old
Duel Forest Farnes, from Ennis.
"Irwin represents the last bit of innocence from a time that's dead," said
Ichelle Spitzig, production designer.
Montana's landscape, combined with the crew's use of color, adds a sense of timelessness
to the film, she said.
Aside from the vibrant Montana sky, many of the colors in the movie are muted, and red is
banned. Even the ketchup bottles are gray, Spitzig said. "We're shooting it in color
and adding gray to it. It gives it another layer."
Surrealism is another constant Northfork theme. Irwin, the orphan, is sick and
hallucinates about fantastic creatures and angels.
Gary Tunnicliffe designed the movie's science-fiction-looking props and costumes. He also
has worked on Hellraiser, Sleepy Hollow and Blade.
Tunnicliffe said he's used to a bigger budget, but the Polish brothers' project was too
creative to turn down. "They have the most surreal imagination of anyone I've ever
met," he said.
The brothers wrote the screenplay and are producing the movie. In
addition, Michael is director and Mark directs and plays the part of Willis, the son of
the character played by James Woods.
Michael and Mark's father, Delbert Polish, is in charge of construction; their older
brother, Matt, is on scene making two documentaries about the filming of Northfork.
One will be a shortened version for DVD.
Coyote Web Site ]