By: Ryan Farrell, Staff Writer
Amazon Prime recently released “Blow the Man Down” as an exclusive film. This film from Bridget Cole and Danielle Crudy is meant to be a dark comedy, set in a fictional coastal town in Maine. While it takes advantage of the environment to differentiate it from other crime mysteries, its camerawork can become overly static and repetitive. The relationship between the two sisters felt well thought out, both of them process their traumas in different ways. The performances are sufficient, but Margo Martindale steals the show.
“Blow the Man Down” takes place in Easter Cove, a commercial fishing village. Lobster fishing is a primary resource of the town, many fishermen can often be heard wailing sea shanties throughout Easter Cove. Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly are struggling to cope after the death of their mother; a beloved member of the community. Mary Beth plans to skip town, leaving her sister behind. After stopping in at a bar, she leaves with a man who offers her a ride. He lets her drive in her drunken state, which results in a car crash. The man turns violent and attacks Mary Beth who chooses to kill him in self-defense. She returns home, pleading for her sister to help her cover up the crime. After she accepts, the two of them must conceal their secret in the small and corrupted Easter Cove.
One of the strong aspects of this film comes from its cinematic vision which is directly reliant on the setting. A great deal of the scenery is focused on the ocean and the culture around it, which aids in the sense of feeling trapped. The surrounding buildings and homes are appropriately historic, which is also integrated into the cinematography. An example of this is when some distant shots are taken through windows, almost using it as a framework.
These remote establishing shots were the highlight. Unfortunately, scenes of dialogue that take place indoors aren’t as inspiring. While the sets are consistent with its cultural tone, the camera work is more by the books. It just seemed like a repetitive series of switches between two shots. Similarly, dialogue scenes taking place outdoors would mainly utilize tracking shots. Cinematographic variety could have made the film more engaging.
“Blow the Man Down” places its main characters in a unique situation: having to deal with both their mother’s death and covering up a murder. While both actresses play their parts effectively, the lack of comparison lessens the effect. The audience doesn’t really see what life was like for them prior to their mother’s death. Stronger character development could’ve made the evolution of the story more significant.
The most compelling performance comes from Margo Martindale, who plays the lovely Enid Devlin. She puts on a kind persona but she is incredibly spiteful and manipulative. Her moments of conflict are most compelling, especially because it often is sporadic.
Blow the Man Down can be streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime.