Blow the Man Down (2019)
Amazon Prime Original
Blow the Man Down is billed as a drama/ comedy and I’ll address up front that calling it such is a misnomer. No, worse; calling Blow the Man Down a comedy is misleading and ultimately mis-selling a great little film. It is funny, but less funny than say Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which could argue its claim of comedy and have weighty drama living in symbiosis.
Blow the Man Down isn’t as bold and brash as Three Billboards. It doesn’t need to be.
Within thirty seconds of the film starting, a film I knew next to nothing of before pressing play, I was reaching for my notepad. I do love a sea shanty and those in Blow the Man Down are both beautiful to listen to and beautiful juxtaposition. Opening with the wake of Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla’s (Sophie Lowe) mother, the first fifteen minutes are carefully planned misery and danger used as building blocks for a film which carefully twists into the unknown.
I genuinely can’t think of a film I’d find harder to spoil than Blow the Man Down. Even deliberately. There’s so much going on in Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s quiet thriller that untangling its gently woven storylines is something I’m still enjoying doing two days later. The basic premise is that the two sisters have something to cover up, and doing so leads them into some shady shenanigans. But that's a very basic premise.
What is most wonderful in this wintery fishing town where everyone knows everyone, is that nobody really knows anybody- least of all the viewer. Apart from the central siblings, all the other characters’ true motivations or intentions could never be quite what they seem. What is most definitely as it seems is that the women are in charge. This was not named nonchalantly.
The men are a side show, lustful, gluttonous, engorged egos so confident in their misplaced machismo as to confuse themselves for good. Save for one.
Blow the Man Down is well acted, every single player selling their part both gloriously and subtly at the same time; even the men. It very much reminded me of Ginger Snaps with its two sisters, one secret theme.
Starting slow, speeding up and then settling into a very well made crime thriller in a perfect location (personally I loved the bleary, sea salt and snow setting), Blow the Man Down is packed with wonderful idiosyncrasies. As the sisters have their eyes opened to their town in a variety of violent and dastardly ways, you're pulled into this weird, wintery enclave by the sea.
I have words in my notes such as thaw, heat and cauldron, lazy throwaways like blew me away. They all apply but I’m far too smart to use them. Instead what I’ll tell you is that when the sisters begin their journey it lights a touch paper to a powder keg full of cans of worms. Told you I wasn’t lazy.
Also, Blow the Man Down didn’t blow me away, it’s too clever for that. It’s an entertaining thinker of a film, completely accessible but smart too. A fishing murder thriller that never lets you off the hook*.
Incredibly understated but yet utterly gripping. I enjoyed all of it. Blow the Man Down is a very female film I am sure at least one of my good friends will enjoy, with guile and some lovely dark humour, this is a 7/10 I can see being an eight down the line. It's free, but on Amazon Prime- which you pay for.
*I know alright. I know.
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