Margot Martindale makes every movie better, but co-writer/directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s new indie feature Blow the Man Down needs no propping.
Folie à deux is in best passive aggressive form when sisters Priscilla and Mary Beth (Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor), one a hot mess, and the other her unsure but ever-pliant enabler, fall down a proverbial well of murder and conspiracy.
Things rapidly go from Shakespearean bad to worse in a small New England fishing village named Easter Cove, where there are few ways out, and most of them involve something illegal.
The powerful, quirky score, supplied by Jordan Dykstra and Brian McOmber, lends a spooky air to the proceedings, and definitely adds to the tension.
The men of the town are almost all pawns that the women of all ages manipulate, whether they know that’s the case, or not. There are shades of Fargo, The Lighthouse, and Miller’s Crossing, if you can imagine all of those movies being 100% feminist. The Coen sisters, if you will.
The other older women of the town, played by June Squibb, Marceline Hugot, and Annette O’Toole, stand as judges and lords over the townies, making pronouncements like the witches of Macbeth, with Martindale standing in for Lady Macbeth…or maybe they all represent other characters from that play, traditional gender be damned, (unsex them here), but to say who stands in for whom would spoil the fun. Suffice to say, it’s not easy finding a wholly likable character, and so what?
Regardless of the machinations and cover-ups, Blow the Man Down speaks to the power of sisterhood, whether born or chosen. We never know what we haven’t seen until we see it, but this film is something new. It’s fresh, dark, and fiercely feminine. Though potentially terrifying to male viewers, female viewers will recognize a little of their darker natures, and of their loyalties to each other, especially when betrayed by outside forces. If you doubt the strength and determination of women, or their ability to get past their squeamishness when necessary, real-life killers Lizzie Borden, Nannie Doss, and Tillie Klimek would love a word.
We should all be anticipating the next feature by this new writing and directing duo, but in the meantime, seek out this new ‘Femme-noir’ flick.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars