Review: Blow the Man Down (2019)

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Blow the Man Down (2019)

Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy | 91 minutes | Actors: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, June Squibb, Marceline Hugot, Annette O’Toole, Linda Shary, Margo Martindale, Owen Burke, Skipp Sudduth, Will Brittain, Gayle Rankin, Neil Odoms, Kendray Rodriguez, Mary Coombs, Kat Palardy, Thomas kee

Every city has its secrets. Also Easter Cove, a fishing town along the coast of Maine. At first glance an average town, with its gossiping elderly, not too fancy brothel, small fishing fleet and unavoidable fishmonger’s shop. After their mother’s death, the fish shop is run by two young sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla Connolly. When Mary Beth panics and kills a pushy man one night, the sisters have a problem. And a secret.

To keep the secret a secret, the sisters must work hard to hide the corpse and trick the sleepy police force. In the meantime, a lot is happening in the town. A corpse is found, a hefty amount of money disappears and a knife turns up that may have something to do with the found corpse. Maybe not. What is certain is the sinister role played by the manager of the local brothel.

The mix of crime, drama and comedy that portrays ‘Blow the Man Down’ seems more impossible than it is. The story is the kind that made the Coen and David Lynch brothers famous. Amateur criminals who work themselves into ever-increasing nests, dark secrets within a community as close as it is festering. All this in a black-comic tone, although hardly anything funny happens in the film. The drama is mainly in the sisters. They are the only souls in the community who have retained some innocence.

Despite the influence of the Coens and Lynch, ‘Blow the Man Down’ is a very original film. The visuals are dull and realistic, but that realism is interrupted every act by a fishermen’s choir singing shanties, like a choir in a Greek tragedy. The story, in which ever new elements eventually form a beautiful mosaic, is also slightly out of touch with reality.

The actors do a great job, especially Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor (!) as the struggling sisters. In addition, there is the beautiful scenery of Maine in the middle of winter and we are happy with the austerity of the script, where the story is in charge and sidelines are virtually absent. And if it doesn’t work for you, there are still the shanties to roar with: Hey Ho, Blow the Man Down!

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