Blow the Man Down
Written and Directed by: Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy
Starring: Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, June Squibb, Marceline Hugot, Annette O’Toole, Linday Shary, Margo Martindale, Owen Burke, Skipp Sudduth, Will Brittain, Gayle Rankin
Going into “Blow the Man Down,” you don’t realize just how deep the story of villainy and deceit sits below the calm seas of a sleepy seaside Maine town.
The film, co-written and directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, opens with calm seas and a foggy coastline before panning the camera to the right, where a seaman (David Coffin) and his cotillion belt out the fabled English sea shanty honoring the film’s title.
There’s a serenity in their voices, a calming effect before we are transitioned into a chaotic wake.
Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) Connolly’s mother has died and within the first few minutes, we learn that with the death of their mom, they are quite literally on the rocks. Cole and Krudy quickly cut to a cadre of women, including Susie Gallagher (June Squibb), Gail Maguire (Annette O’Toole), Doreen Burke (Marceline Hugot) and Mary Margaret (Linda Shary) are all convened in the kitchen. The reflect fondly on the decedent’s life with her daughters. Yet, there is a sinister undertone driving the conversation.
It isn’t until well after the wake that the story takes its tragic run-in between Mary Beth and Paulie (Owen Burke).
Cole and Krudy build the second act into a farcical mix between “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and the genre’s staple, “Fargo.” “Blow the Man Down” sits comfortably in between the two, especially once the cops get involved in the story.
And Enid Nora Devlin (Margo Martindale), the lady of pleasure in the sleepy small fishing town.
Cole and Krudy’s story take several twists and turns as the police are led astray. There’s a hilarious scene between Enid, Office Coletti (Skipp Sudduth) and Officer Justin Brennan (Will Brittain) in which they try to investigate a second murder in their small town.
Finger wagging and clandestine villainy ensues as Mary Beth and Priscilla get deeper and deeper into the situation. A strong sense of familial bonding surrounds the characters as they stick up for each other in one way or another.
The technical aspects of “Blow the Man Down” are some of the better I’ve seen, especially Todd Banhazl’s cinematography, which is mostly shot at night, using a lot of low lights. Brian McOmber and Jordan Dykstra’s score is just as playful as the characters.
“Blow the Man Down” is one of those independent films where the name of the film truly fits with the themes, the characters and their situations. Underneath the calm, cool and collected postures of the folks that inhabit the film, you know something more sinister lurks beneath the glassy surface.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime, “Blow the Man Down” is worth your time.
R, 91 Minutes, An Amazon Studios Release