Moments after finishing this film, I wouldn’t have been the slightest bit surprised if the ending credits read: Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. In reality, Blow the Man Down showcases the talents of a different directing duo, Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy. In their film debut, the pair introduces viewers to the secrets lurking beneath the scene facade of a wintry New England town. After premiering at Tribeca in April 2019, the film was bought by Amazon Studios and is available for streaming on Prime Video.
Set in the fictional Town of Easter Cove, Maine, the film follows two sisters, pris and Mary Beth Connolly (Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor, respectively), who are left with a family-owned fish market and little money after the unfortunate death of their mother, Mary Margaret Connolly.
Both sisters are the complete opposite. Pris is grounded, committed to working at the fish market, and staying in town, while Mary Beth, sometimes with a drink in her hand, dreams of leaving the “dump,” as she calls the town, and attending UMaine.
Following a disagreement between the sisters at their mother’s funeral reception, Mary Beth leaves early to head to the local bar. There, she meets a menacing character named Gorski (Ebon Moss Bachrach), and we find out he works for Enid Devlin (Margo Martindale), the owner of a busy bed and breakfast and former business partner of the girls’ mother.
Writers and directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy craft a tight screenplay, coupling the intricate plot with strong dialogue and witty banter between characters. Martindale gets the juiciest parts of the script, spitting insults and observations as if she’s Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Simply put, Cole and Krudy write characters who are true Mainers, molded by the surrounding environment and adapting to the ever-changing in town. By the final shot of the film, every loose end is eventually tied up.
Cole and Krudy have directed a distinctly feminist film, writing several complex female characters who have relatable thoughts and desires. This is an original story that is told with the female perspective in mind, taking inspiration from past cinema and incorporating it into a film that shows independent women attempting to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
Blow the Man Down is assembled cleverly, allowing for the enjoyable and rewarding viewing experience, and what so far seems to be the strongest film of 2020.