Blow the Man Down marks the feature-film debut for two female friends who’ve been on the New York filmmaking scene for a decade. After an exceptionally long gestation period, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s quirky tale won the Best Screenplay award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It was subsequently acquired by Amazon and begins streaming today. That’s a happy turn of events all around.
Put simply, it’s about murder in a Maine fishing village where everybody knows everybody’s business and there are skeletons rattling in their collective closet. Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor play sisters who have just buried their mother, one of the pillars of the community. The siblings have different outlooks on life—and the prospect of running the family business, a fish shop.
Margo Martindale, who can do no wrong, plays a notorious woman who years ago turned her home into a brothel. At one time the townspeople understood that she fulfilled a need for hard-living fishermen, but in the wake of the murder the town’s female elders have second thoughts. One of those women is played by the irresistible June Squibb, whose Oscar-nominated performance in Nebraska put her on the movie map. Another is the considerably younger (but no less welcome) Annette O’Toole.
Filmmakers Cole and Krudy continually offer new tidbits of information about their fictitious village and its colorful characters as the movie progresses. The details of small-town life feel genuine, like the atmosphere they capture so well. A couple of authentic sea shanties, vigorously sung, add flavor to the stew.
Blow the Man Down hasn’t great ambitions but fulfills its modest goals nicely. It’s well worth streaming, especially if you have a cup of chowder handy.