VOD film review: Blow the Man Down
James R | On 21, Jan 2021
Directors: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy
Cast: Morgan Saylor, Sophie Lowe, Margo Martindale
Watch Blow the Man Down online in the UK: Amazon Prime
“The fishing pays nicely, if you don’t drown…” warn a group of fishermen singing on the shores of Easter Cove at the start of Blow the Man Down, a slippery, thrilling neo-noir steeped in salty humour and hard-hitting brutality that was doing sea shanties before they were cool.
“If you ain’t into fishing, hell you’re in the wrong place,” they wink at the camera. Certainly in the wrong place are Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla Connolly (Sophie Lowe), two former locals who return to their home town after the death of their mother. But when Mary Beth finds herself on the wrong side of a drunken man in a bar, a dead body soon turns up, and the sisters find themselves having to dispose of it out of sight.
In a small town, however, people are always watching, and writer-directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy brilliantly whip up a sense of location – their Maine backdrop of snow, wind and a bag of cash is gorgeously atmospheric and evocative. But it’s more than just gritty style and a dark sense of humour; Blow the Man Down works because its community is just as believable, with the village populated by all manner of complicated, intriguing and spiky women, all of whom have their own secrets and skeletons to keep hidden.
Margo Martindale, in particular, stands out as Enid, who runs the local brothel with ruthless authority, and the whole ensemble are led by its excellent leading duo: Sophie Lowe (who impressed in BBC Three’s Romper Stomper and the US remake of The Returned) and Morgan Saylor (Dana in Homeland) are wonderfully convincing as they navigate the waves of crimes and corruption, moving from desperate to determined with every grim step. It’s like watching 1996’s Fargo, but with two Frances McDormands on screen at once.
Throughout, the rugged fishermen serve as a pseudo-Greek chorus to this twisted tale, bringing a wicked wit and a sense of ominous inevitability to events – and harmonies that deserve the kind of attention that sea shanties have recently been enjoying on TikTok. Whether you’re into fishing or not, this indie gem deserves a place on your watchlist while you wait for whatever its directors do next.
Blow the Man Down is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.