Blow the Man Down
Murder, Maine, and Matriarchs
Streaming on Amazon Prime | 2019 | R | 1h 30m
Genre: Mystery, Comedy, Art Cinema Why We Watched: I've had a hard time finishing TV series lately. You name it, I've watched the pilot. I'm halfway through Waco, Little Fires Everywhere, and Tiger King. I've watched every episode except for the finale of American Horror Story: 1984. So last Friday I set out to find a short film that I could finish in one sitting: At an hour and a half, Blow the Man Down fit the bill!
You Might Also Like: Blow the Man Down is like a feminist, modern-day Fargo (Starz, 1996). Set in small-town North Dakota, Fargo landed Frances McDormand a Best Actress Oscar for her role investigating a string of dead bodies. This dark comedy from the Coen Brothers will have you on the edge of your seat—and adopting Minnesota nice—from start to finish.
This New England noir is full of Irish Catholic imagery and cable-knit fishermen's sweaters. Set in a rural fishing town of Easter Cove, Maine, the movie starts with two sisters mourning their recently passed mother. Mary Beth Connolly (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla Connolly (Sophie Lowe) couldn't be more different. The former is ready to leave behind her small-town past; the other labors to keep her mother's fish market business afloat. But when the town's underbelly links them to an unsolved murder, the two sisters band together.
“You’ll be glad ya put family first,” says a trio of older women (played by Annette O’Toole, June Squib, Marceline Hugot) at Mrs. Connolly's wake, when Mary Beth bemoans putting off UMaine for one more semester. The elder Mrs. Connolly was the one person who kept the trio of women from running their former friend Enid out of town. You see, entrepreneur Enid Devlin (August: Osage County's Margo Martindale) runs a B&B brothel—complete with a candy dish of condoms—at the other end of town. After Mrs. Connolly's death, tensions run high and the trio decides it's up to them to determine Enid's fate.
In the few days the film covers, three people end up murdered, multiple ballads are sung by a Greek chorus of fishermen, and many fish are, well, fished. And through a visage of blue-tinted shots, it becomes clearer that the town of Easter Cove isn't as devout as it at first seems.
The debut feature from Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy makes me look forward to a future of cohesive and complicated films from the duo. It's short and easy to digest, the perfect antidote the number of series currently available to stream.
I loved every second of this movie and the mess of secrets it reveals. I hope you do too!