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Review: 'Blow the Man Down' a quiet New England thriller

Murder, money and the sea: Amazon Prime title burrows into the secrets of a small seaside town

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

Small-town secrets wash ashore in a desperate, desolate New England community in "Blow the Man Down," which plays like a Coen Brothers thriller with a thick Maine accent. 

Morgan Saylor ("Homeland") stars as Mary Beth Connolly, an 18-year-old whose mother has just died. After a drunken night at a local watering hole, bad decisions are made and, well, she ends up sticking a harpoon through a local creep's neck. 

Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe in "Blow the Man Down."

The creep may have had it coming. But what's done is done, and Mary Beth is scrambling to cover up her crime, so she turns to her sister Priscilla (Sophie Lowe), who works at the local fish shop, who helps her cut up the dead guy's body and stick it in a cooler, which they dump at sea. The next day, a body washes ashore, but alas, it's not his. 

The crimes expose the seedy underbelly of Easter Cove, Maine, and the web of women who've secretly run the town for decades. Things swirl back to Enid Devlin (Margo Martindale, ferocious as ever), who runs a B&B on the edge of town that just happens to be a brothel. 

Writer-directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy get the New England look and feel down so well that even the characters in "Manchester by the Sea" would be proud. To Cole and Krudy, the crime is simply a way burro into the town and its mysteries, an excuse to examine the politics that keep it running.

Not everything works perfectly; "Blow the Man Down" is one of those movies where a cop shows up and naively asks just the right favor to just the right person to set everything in motion, and the allegiance of the town's women feels slightly underdeveloped.

But down to its sea shanty singers who act as the film's Greek chorus, "Blow the Man Down" creates a well-realized world with layers that keep revealing themselves. You don't want to live there, but it's well worth a visit. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'Blow the Man Down'

GRADE: B

Rated R: for language, some violence, sexual material and brief drug use

Running time: 91 minutes

On Amazon Prime