Blow the Man Down (2019) Review – Sweetest Smiles Hold Darkest Secrets


A Good Thriller tricks you but a Great One puts you in protagonists’ shoe and feel the intensity of their chaos. The symbolic elements of a Thriller – Knee Jerk moments, dark secrets and violent climaxes that amps the thrill are plotted in Blow the Man Down flawlessly.

Directed by first time director, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, the film leads to a series of dramatic events that unfolds small town dark secrets viewed from the perspective of two recently orphaned grown-up sisters, Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla (Sophie Lowe). Blow the Man Down is their story and they are going to narrate it, diligently.

The Story

Blow the Man Down begins with a stylistic montage of fishermen/sailors singing the title song of the film, that quickly establishes where the story is going to play around – Easter Cove, a fishing village in Maine. There isn’t much known about the village and the director treated it that way so that thematically the little dark secrets that run throughout the story keep getting the required flavor.

Mary and Priscilla, the lead characters of the story are blood sisters who have been taking care of their ailing mother, while she finally rests in peace. On the day of her funeral, Mary, the younger sister (about 18) learns that their mother, who owned and ran a local fish store, has left them nothing but debt. Perplexed and angered by the fact, Mary visits a lonely bar and meets a creep (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). A town with little options, Mary goes along with the guy, snorting coke and drinking liquor, ramming his car on a local landmark road sign later. Things get pretty scary when Mary finds out traces of blood and girls’ hair in his car’s trunk. She tries to run away from him but in run and chase, charges out on him with a harpoon, and stabs him, fatally, in the neck.

For Mary, the act was self-defense but could she explain the same to the old town orthodox mentality and especially the grumpy cops? Mary narrates the incident to her older sister, Priscilla, who with the aid of a paring knife from the fish shop, stuffs the body into an ice chest, then dumps it on the ocean rocks. Only to find out that the police have found a washed-up body on the shore, but it belongs to a woman, rather than a man. Thus, through these small snippets and thrill elements, Blow the Man Down keeps you invested in the story, while one tries to figure out what actually the case of the second body is. It is much darker and complicated as it sounds to be, maybe that is an extra layer every thriller needs.

Stylized Thriller narrating Dark Secrets of Sailors.

Debut directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy didn’t try to keep the film dark as most generic thrillers are ought to be, but it is much more bright and stylized. Frequently Chorus Shots of fisherman singing sea songs sketches the overall look and film giving it a snappish Irish-American touch.

But the stylized elements are just a way to mislead the audience, because the sailors who look so flashy in daylight, embody dark secrets at night. Any town or village which is around or near the coast often has a brothel or woman waiting for a sailor who once came to the village, and will come again to receive their offspring. It hardly happens. Sailors’ promises are bleak as their relationship with the land.

To protect the women/girls of the town, these brothels come in handy, or something like that the antagonist of the film narrated. Enid Nora Devlin (Margo Martindale), is a businesswoman who runs a Brothel in the disguise of a bread and breakfast restaurant. The woman’s body that washed ashore belonged to one of the girls that worked there and the marks on her arm suggests the real crimes leading to Enid’s actions. From there, it doesn’t take long to put piece by piece in connection to see the true nature of Enid’s character, and the larger picture which the film visualizes. In the last, it is all about Enid and the two sisters, with money and murder in the center. The expectation of the outcome is the gripping element of the film that keeps you engrossed. Though the film looks fulfilled in the end, there is a loose end in the climax, which was intentionally plotted by the makers, to suggest that there is never one person to blame for the vices.

A realistic crime drama like Blow the Man Down works not solely on twists but the world it reveals which in its case is a village visited by Sailors, who exploits the town with their lust. The women of this community, created a brothel to safeguard their own daughters but any devilish sin, no matter the intention, comes back to take it’s due, and the same happens in the film too. Blow the Man Down is an engaging thriller that never lets you down, even for a single moment, as the twists and turns of the story are too riveting to miss.

Blow the Man Down is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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