Tribeca Movie Review: ‘Blow The Man Down’

Review by L.C. Cragg

This small town-based Coen Brothers-esque tale of female fragility, betrayal, jealous and loyalty brings dark humor and thriller themes in a fresh entertaining way. Set in Angel Cove, a New England Coastal town, the film opens with the funeral of Mary Connelly, survived by her two daughters, Mary Beth Connelly (Morgan Saylor) and her sister Pris (Sophie Lowe). These value crossed, but lovable sisters deal with not only the loss of their mother and her financial woes, but the legacies of her loyalties. The daughters learn that their mother had made true friends as well as enemies to protect their town, from a time when women were less empowered.

While the story dances well on the borderline of a dark comedy, the film fails to deliver laugh out loud humor but does provide some original funny moments. While there are character differences they don’t deliver a level of complexity or quirkiness which could have befitted the film.

The use of lyrics to the sea chanty “Blow the Man Down” hence the name of the film, moves the story along in the vein of a Greek chorus. This chorus also adds levity to some darker and violent moments of the film.

The daughters’ dilemma is triggered by the “death of a local crud” setting into motion the realities of small town drama: Angel Cove being the kind of place where loyalties grudges and lifelong feuds run deep but in order to survive people have had to , “go along to get along” with revengeful breaking points.

When bodies, some we know the killer of, and others can only assume, wash up on shore, creating more work for Officer Brennan, (Will Brittain) the clean-cut deputy, who has forgone the life of a fisherman, to make his place in the world as a civil servant.

Enid Nora Devlin, (Margo Martindale), a gimlet-eyed businesswoman who presides over a remote bed-and-breakfast (a.k.a. Brothel ) called the Ocean View, has the sisters under her surveillance, knowing that somehow, these two have committed a crime, and although she’s not a saint herself, she has the power in the Cove, wielding it around, like a magic scepter. The rest of the outstanding female cast includes Annette O’Toole and June Squibb.

The film is certainly a fresh voice to the dark comedy/thriller genre.

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