Blow the Man Down (3 stars)

Blow the Man Down

Margo Martindale is typically good in an atmospheric small-town thriller, featuring a mostly female cast

An atmospheric small-town thriller, Blow the Man Down makes the most of its wind-blown Maine fishing village location and the strength of its mostly female cast. While there are some missteps along the way – most notably the inclusion of a fisherman frog chorus, regularly singing the title song to camera – this is a promising feature debut for writer-directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy.

It's anchored by excellent performances, most notably from Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe as sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla, whose life has come unmoored following the death of their mother: a respected local matriarch. Mary Beth is particularly affected, not least because her mother's considerable debts throw her plans for college into jeopardy and, unlike Priscilla, she has no desire to work in the family's fish business. Drowning her sorrows in the local bar she runs into Gorski (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who, it transpires, has unwanted advances on his mind. In fear for her life, Mary Beth kills him.

This split-second act is the catalyst for an intriguing dive into the underbelly of this seemingly idyllic town. As the sisters attempt to cover up Mary Beth's deed, they discover some shocking truths about their community and, in particular, the posse of older women who seem to hold sway over everything. Among them, Margo Martindale puts in a sterling performance as social pariah Enid, the madam of a brothel who is much-hated by the other women for reasons that become increasingly clear.

To say any more would be to dilute the fun of this mystery, which reveals sharp truths about the bonds of female friendship and the shadowy contradictions of human behaviour with every clever turn. It's all drawn together by a haunting score and Todd Banhazi's expressive cinematography, that hints at the town's dark secrets by lingering on neat white picket fences and the churning sea beyond.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime now.

Blow the Man Down

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • 1h 30min
  • Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
  • Cast: David Coffin, David Pridemore, Adam Wolf Mayerson

Mary Beth (Saylor) and Priscilla (Lowe) are two sisters in a small Maine fishing village whose life has become unmoored; then things get worse after a violent incident. Despite a few missteps, this is a promising feature debut from Cole and Krudy, an atmospheric small-town thriller with a haunting score and expressive…