A hauntingly beautiful, willfully obtuse fable written by twin brothers Mark and Michael Polish, starring Mark and directed by Michael. 1955: 48 hours before a newly constructed hydroelectric dam floods a sparsely populated Montana plain, six professional evacuators are dispatched to make sure a handful of stragglers in small-town Northfork abandon their homes. Matt and Marvin (Joshuin Barker, Graham Beckel) are assigned the Youngs (Julie Macalister, Josh Olson), a couple so amorous that even the thought of drowning can't disentangle them. Arnold and Eddie (John Gries, Peter Coyote) must uproot an older man who backs up his vehement refusal with a shotgun. And father and son team Willis and Walter O'Brien (Michael Polish, James Woods) tackle God-fearing Mr. Stalling (Marshall Bell) and his two wives (Saralyn Sebern, Ginny Watts), who are awaiting a sign from heaven in their homemade ark. Meanwhile the departing Hadfields (Clark Gregg, Claire Forlani) return Irwin (Duel Farnes), the orphan they adopted from grizzled Father Harlan (Nick Nolte) because the child is too sick to make an extended car trip. Feverish and near death, Irwin hallucinates that he's a lost cherub and tries to convince four bedraggled angels androgynous Flower Hercules (Daryl Hannah), handless and half-blind Happy (Anthony Edwards), sardonic Cup of Tea (Robin Sachs) and silent Cod (Ben Foster) that he's one of their flock. The symbols fly thick and fast in this pretentious but brilliantly realized vision, in which sleek black-clad evacuators and tattered celestial spirits vie for the spirit of a country on the verge of selling its soul to fast-food franchises and corporate consumerism. The Polish brothers and cinematographer M. David Mullen leach the color out of every frame, rendering the film an artfully bleached vision in gray, sepia and sickly flesh tones and filled with lovingly rendered period details and eerily fabulous images: A ramshackle stick dog, a snowstorm between the two halves of a deserted house, a coffin that boils up from beneath the placid surface of a lake, Happy's stiffly ornate false hands and Flower's safety-pin studded forehead. The story is just an excuse to string them together and the dialogue, filled with brittle non sequiters and solemnly deadpan puns, is murderously irritating. Like the Polish brothers' earlier TWIN FALLS IDAHO (1999) and JACKPOT (2001), the film is meticulously crafted but frustratingly meaningless.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A hauntingly beautiful, willfully obtuse fable written by twin brothers Mark and Michael Polish, starring Mark and directed by Michael. 1955: 48 hours before a newly constructed hydroelectric dam floods a sparsely populated Montana plain, six professional… (more)