I like films about grief. I don’t know if its because I have my own that I’ve never truly processed or because stories of grief lay characters bare in front of us and ask us to empathize with them from the first moment we see them. It’s even more striking when a film buries grief in a bed of violence and mystery like Blow the Man Down, from writer-directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy does.
Blow the Man Down takes place in Easter Cover, a salty fishing village on the far reaches of Maine’s rocky coast. The film opens with a group of fishermen singing the folk song “Blow the Man Down,” pulling you into the film. After the small opening, we’re introduced to two sisters, Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Priscilla Connolly (Sophie Lowe) at their mother’s funeral.The sisters are different people, Priscilla is the dutiful daughter, looking to hold the weight of the family’s financial troubles on her shoulders while Mary Beth just wants to go to college and leave the small and dead-end town. While they grieve the loss of their mother and face an uncertain future with little prospect or money, they end up having to cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deeper into Easter Cove’s underbelly and uncover the town matriarchs’ darkest secrets.
Instead of having the film overtly focus on the grieving process, Blow the Man Down gives us a story of two sisters who come together to hide a crime, and in doing so reveals their personalities. On sister is reactive, the other methodical, and neither of them is as strong a part as they are together.
Soon, Blow the Man Down turns into a film that is all about crimes committed by women. Whether its the Connolly girls’ or the underbelly of their small town that reveals that nosy neighbors know more than they should, the film creates a story that makes the women the center, the men the pawns, and gives a look at a madame and her dealings from a perspective rarely seen – from the women in her community. The generational choices echo throughout the film, not just from the Connolly’s family but from the women of Easter Cove.
As the story twists, the Connolly sisters find out how their family fits into the larger criminal world of Easter Cove and realize why so many people showed up to their to grieve their mother with them. But the film doesn’t just present crime, Blow the Man Down explores why women make the decisions they do, how they survive in a world not built for them, and how daughters can carry the sins of their mother and redeem them.
Saylor and Lowe are amazing together. They feel like sisters, they’re bonded like sisters, and it’s easy to see pieces of yourself in each of them. As they fall deeper into the crimes around them, they struggle to find a path that keeps them together, fixes their problem, and ultimately saves them. But how do they work together when one wants it all to go away and the other wants to start a new life on the ashes of their crime?
The films’ score is all strings, all fear, and the Irish folk song that pops up throughout the film creates a thrilling and eerie atmosphere for the film. Blow the Man Down is a cold film, one where the girls deeds sit in the freezing air and the song and score further freezes. This is an intimate thriller, one that throws you into the Connolly sisters’ shoes and makes you sit there, as powerless as they are in the unfolding events before they bring you up with them.
Overall, Blow the Man Down is a cold atmospheric thriller that brings you through grief and mistakes in a way that’s both intimate and quietly powerful.
Blow the Man Down is available on Amazon Prime now.
Blow the Man Down
Blow the Man Down is a cold atmospheric thriller that brings you through grief and mistakes in a way that’s both intimate and quietly powerful.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.