Blow the Man Down Movie Review
Even small towns have underbellies. That’s the underlying premise of Blow the Man Down, a well-made crime drama that nonetheless doesn’t do quite enough to stand out. Nevertheless, amidst the COVID-19 quarantine and a timely March 20 release date on Amazon Prime, the movie is worth the 90 minutes it requires of you.
Written and directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy and starring Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe, Blow the Man Down is a rarity in the genre: female directed, female led, with nary a man in sight—save for the less-than-pleasant individual who gets killed in the opening minutes, triggering the events to follow, and a group of fishermen who appear sporadically to proudly sing the title song.
What you notice first about Blow the Man Down is the look. No, the feel. Cole and Krudy establish a gritty-but-not-too-gritty atmosphere, a believable, seedy look at an otherwise quaint town. You can feel the darkness clawing at the edge of the screen but never consuming the film. There are bleak moments, but it’s never bleak. The film involves criminals, but small-town criminals doing small-town things. This isn’t big city noir.
Saylor and Lowe are well suited for their roles; these are women who do a bad thing—sort of—but who plunge in deeper without any knowledge or expertise in doing so. They, too, are small-town characters, believable, grounded, somewhat interesting, smart but not particularly smart. In turn, Margo Martindale is also terrific as Enid.
What makes Blow the Man Down compelling also keeps it from significance. Everything about the movie feels small—the story, the characters, the crime—and as well made as it is, Cole and Krudy don’t quite elevate it to must-see material. It’s a nice little movie, but it’s not a movie I expect to remember six months from now.
When you’re trapped in your home, remote in hand, Amazon Prime waiting, Blow the Man Down may still be enough, even if only for the moment.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.