BLOW THE MAN DOWN – Review by Susan Granger

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Introduced by hearty fishermen singing that rousing sea-shanty, women rock the boat in this salty, subtly droll, modern-day murder mystery, reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ black comedy thrillers.

In the small, coastal Maine town of Easter Cove, a drunken man is chasing a screaming woman through the snow; they’re observed by Enid Devlin (Margo Martindale) from her upstairs window.

Mourning the recent death of their mother, two sisters – stoic, sensible Priscilla Connolly (Sophie Lowe) and restless, adventurous Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) – are faced with overwhelming debt. Even if they can keep the family’s seafood store afloat, they’ll be forced to sell their weather-beaten home.

They’re comforted and counseled by an outspoken trio of their mother’s elderly, Irish-Catholic friends (June Squibb, Annette O’Toole, Marceline Hugot), along with Enid, the imperious proprietor of Oceanview, a bed & breakfast/brothel.

As it turns out, Mary Beth was the screaming woman, pursued by predatory Gorski (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). When he tries to rape her, Mary Beth spears him with a harpoon then clobbers him with a brick. Terrified, Mary Beth summons Priscilla. Using an oyster-shucking knife, they cram Gorski’s corpse into a cooler and toss it into the ocean.

Shortly afterward, the dead body of a prostitute who worked for Enid washes up on the shore. Did Gorski kill her? Searching his isolated shack, Mary Beth finds a sack with $50,000 in cash. Where did it come from? And will anyone connect the sisters with these sordid crimes?

First-time feature filmmakers Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole won the Best Screenplay Award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, while Todd Banhazl (“Hustlers”) received a special jury mention for his cinematography; the film was shot in Harpswell, Maine.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Blow the Man Down is a suspenseful 7, evoking the secret bond of sisterhood – in all its permutations.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Blow the Man Down is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for March 20, 2020

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.