The first paradox of Northfork is that it's so light and wispy that it hardly registers as anything at all, and yet every scene is so heavy-handed and the metaphors so thick that no sense of the characters can possibly break through. The second paradox is that a movie with such beautiful cinematography gives us so little time to drink in the pictures. Seldom do we get five seconds between edits and almost never more than ten. Furthermore, the story is constructed like a TV show: we see a bit of story #1, then cut to story #2, then #3, then back to #1, and so on, throughout. The odd editing gives this sleepy, slow movie an irritating jumpiness that is probably counter to what was intended.
I can't help but think this movie was lost in the editing room and that a good movie is buried here, somewhere. The story involves the men who are assigned to go to the last of the people living in a valley soon to be flooded by the state and try to move them out of their homes. The men welcome the assignments the way the salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross welcome the stale leads. The story of these men roaming around at the edge of death-and-life is a compelling prospect, if only the movie would pause a moment and just let us watch them moving within this stunning landscape rather than trying to push them on to the next metaphor about children, angels, death, and rebirth, rather than trying to squeeze tears from them that we can't feel or jokes that we can't laugh at.