Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Review: Blow the Man Down

Release date: March 20, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale

Blow the Man Down focuses on two sisters who have recently lost their mother.  The family lives in a small coastal town in Maine, where everyone knows everyone (and their business).  Shortly after the funeral, another unfortunate incident occurs that causes the sisters to band together yet again to overcome this latest predicament.  However, this incident opens a Pandora's box of other issues that dredge up some of the dark secrets of their sleepy town.

This film is set in the fictitious small town of Easter Cove, Maine.  The film does a great job with the setting, with authentic buildings, accents, and a small town feel throughout the film.  Everyone knows everyone else's business, and the dark secrets in the movie are buried under small town pleasantries.  On top of the setting, the film has very good performances highlighted by Margo Martindale as Enid, the keeper of the town's darkest secrets.  She does a great job of really stealing the scenes and walking the tightrope of feigning ignorance and becoming threatening when needed.  I also liked some of the parallels this film had to old plays such as a scene where some townsfolk confront one of the characters and it plays out as if they are the character's conscience speaking to them.  And, despite the flaws with the story, there was a decent amount of intrigue.

However, the film does have a few issues.  First and foremost, the main point in the plot that leads to the rest of the story is just a very bad decision.  It could have easily been cleared up but people didn't think straight and led to a whole host of new problems. And the story itself is a little too linear and simplified.  The consequences never seem too dire, the circumstances never seem too threatening, and the whole story resolves itself fairly quickly and easily.  There is a lot of implied dread and implied uncertainty, but this does not manifest in the movie itself.  The film also has an interesting story device where a male choir sing verses of an old song at the start and between some scenes.  It is a nice idea to set the tone and the setting of the film, but in practice it was distracting and pulled me out of big scene transitions.  And some of the writing is a little over the top, but again, this might have felt over the top because the story never felt that consequential.  

Blow the Man Down has a good setting and some fantastic performances in this New England descent into a town's dark secrets. 

Rent it

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