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Northfork (2003)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 101
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 44

Visually poetic, but may be too dramatically inert for some.


Average Rating: 5.3/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 19

Visually poetic, but may be too dramatically inert for some.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 4,692

My Rating

Movie Info

What was once a brave frontier town has become a haven for enlightened oddballs in this unusual drama from director Michael Polish, written in collaboration with his twin brother, Mark Polish. Northfork is a small town in Montana which, in 1955, is soon to disappear in the name of progress; a massive hydroelectric dam is to be put in nearby, which will flood the entire village. A group of six men sent by the power company -- led by Walter O'Brien (James Woods) and his son Willis (Mark Polish) --

Dec 30, 2003


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All Critics (111) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (44) | DVD (10)

For me, the Polish brothers marched down a road leading nowhere.

August 7, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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A compelling juxtaposition of the poignant and the bizarre, a movie that tosses moviemaking rules into the nearest Cuisinart.

August 7, 2003
Arizona Republic
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For those on its peculiar wavelength, everything fits. For those who aren't, it's a painful piece of self-impressed drivel. Either way, you'll know you've been to the movies.

August 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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It's a tone poem of a movie, more visual than coherent. As such, what it's about is less important than the spell it casts.

August 1, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
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An insufferably artsy, pretentious work, the sort of picture that gives art films a bad name.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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It is impossible to describe all the rich layers of Northfork, clearly an exhausting labor of love for the Polish brothers who wrote, produced, directed and star in the mystical movie.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a transcendent tone poem, an arrangement in dun and gray marred only slightly by the brothers' insistence on the occasional tin-ear joke

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A moody and layered meditation on and evocation of literal and figurative states of purgatory.

January 3, 2005 Full Review Source:

With the pacing of a death march and the theological heft of Angels in the Outfield, this feel-bad extravaganza is 2003's Exhibit A of why people avoid arthouse cinema.

June 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Low IQ Canadian

It's a recipe for magical realism, and the Polish brothers deliver with a stunning cinematic statement.

May 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

This droll surrealistic fantasy is like a gentler David Lynch hallucination.

April 19, 2004 Full Review Source:

Characters talk in solemn monotones, as if the entire drama were taking place in a funeral parlor.

February 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

The Polish brothers may be too clever for their own good; this film feels self-indulgent, like an inside joke we could never get without reading a book about the film.

October 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Northfork is visually stunning, thematically rich and, ultimately, about as exciting as watching an old car rust.

September 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

The art-house version of a summer blockbuster: All style and no substance.

September 6, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

Poetry put to pictures.

September 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Views

It plays out, dreamlike, often beautifully shot and visually appealing, but seemingly without purpose.

August 30, 2003 Full Review Source:

This pretty odd little fantasy-drama is more likely to leave audiences scratching their heads than it is to warm their hearts.

August 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

There is a lot less going on in Northfork than its dour acting, odd symbolism and funereal take-us-seriously-or-else tone would suggest.

August 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

This is the strongest, most cohesive film from the brothers Polish.

August 21, 2003 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Northfork will give you food for reflection or a case of the hives.

August 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

The sympathetic might describe 'Northfork' as a cinematic poem or allegorical fairy tale. The uncharitable might prefer such terms as 'hokum' or 'hooey'...

August 11, 2003
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

There is a posture of icy remove to the Polish brothers' film that washes everything in the same bleached palette employed in M. David Mullen's faultless cinematography.

August 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Funny and alive and visually delightful.

August 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The jokey elements are artificial, and strike a note of banality that undermines whatever sense of transcendence the film might be attempting in its stark, sweeping cinematography and mystical, dreamy milieu.

August 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Beware of smarty-pants filmmakers run amok in small-town America.

August 7, 2003
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Audience Reviews for Northfork

What the Hell was I watching. Two Stars
October 19, 2011
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Weird. Weird. Weird. Weird. Is that a religious metaphor? Weird. Weird. Weird. Everyone will be affected differently by this, like an abstract painting. Still, it might be too weird for most, but those on its highly metaphorical wavelength may get some intellectual pleasure from this Polish brother oddity.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B[/color][/font]
February 27, 2006
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

20 of my finest legions of waffle troops were savagely consumed with little consideration given to their tasty legs. Such a disgraceful way to go. For a waffle anyway. Damn, mass wafflo-cide could've only been the work of...yep, you guessed it: the Methochaun. That little vile bastard is back, and pissier than ever. Tubbs is organizing a reconaissance mission with a few of the remaining, un-stabby bums to recover the legs for dinner tonight. Dinner's important, dadgummit!

So uhh...after the failure of the Q&A session (stern, disapproving look), things have gone to all hell. Wait, only some of hell, not all. Like a few of the layers of hell anyway. So yeah, things are there. At least, some things have already gone there, while other things are either in the process of going there, or are just haven't bought their ticket yet. But yeah, hell's involved, and so are things. And it sucks.

There's been a delay in the deployment of my latest squadron of secret quadrilaterals, and now the enemy have been graced with weapons of kaleidoscopic power: the colors Yellow and Violet. "Cheese" I exclaimed, thinking of the first thing that came to mind when I first learned of their Yellow power. What is it with me & cheese anyway? And always related to women, too. Sorry, Larry, but my blood-and-syrup-soaked daydreams are no place for a beautiful mime. But Yellow?! And [i]Violet[/i]?? What am I to do against such colorful weaponry? Stuffed horse bombs have been rendered impotent after being blanked by a double-coating of their multi-colored firepower. And unless my toy binoculars are deceiving me (which they promised me they wouldn't anymore), that damn Zombie Barbie seems to be flaunting Yellow & Purple facepaint too. Hmm...zombie-barbie look? Yellow & purple? Yeah, I *thought* she reminded me of an aging Paula Abdul in her Laker Girl outfit! Bada bing!

And Whitesnake, ever the rock n' rollin' harbinger, apparently finds purpose is his constant prophesizing of Bogart's coming. I find it quite annoying, and am beginning to relish even MORE so the first opportunity I have to snake a paintball in the back of that pajama-loving infidel's gourd with "Warm Embrace's" venomous accuracy. And I won't be holding it backwards this time either (grr)! Oh yes, my friends and neighbors and friend's neighbors and neighbor's friends. My determination in doing so is sky-rocketing like a thermometer on a hot day tied to a sky-bound launching rocket.

Oh, and Squiggy's on holiday. What in violet blazes was I thinkin'? I should've never allowed him to get out and see 4th Street at such a taxing time (even though I *do* hear it's lovely this time of year). Ugh. I hate being mired in this rut of battle. This has been goin' on for too long, dammit! I dunno, but maybe I'm getting a little disillusioned with all this war & chaos (though I suppose it could be the "Drink").

[size=1]Also: A.M.A.I.L.A. (As Much As I Love A.C.K. [Alienated Cretins for Killing]), I've decided that journal entries aren't quite as efficient using this code as wartime communication (even though it's still perfectly brilliant, I say). Expect it sparingly now. T.I.A. (That Is All).[/size]
January 26, 2004
Mike Neumann

Super Reviewer

    1. Father Harlan: We are all angels. It is what we do with our wings that separates us.
    – Submitted by Douglas P (23 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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