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Blow The Man Down Review: A Small Town With Big Secrets

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Blow The Man Down(Amazon Studios)

Starring  Morgan Saylor ,Sophie Lowe ,Margo Martindale  June Squibb,Annette O’Toole,Ebon Moss-Bachrach,Gayle Rankin.

Directed  by  Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy

Rating: ** ½ (two and a half stars)

Walls and waves whisper deep dark secrets in this  deceptively calm crime drama set  in a seaside  fishing town in America where something something fishy means something else.

 The  idea of small-town-big-secrets  goes back to Peyton Place , the 1957 adaptation  of the Grace Metalius  novel about a provincial town  filled  with  filthy secrets  about adulterous wives and promiscuous men.The biggest asset  in this  deceptively quaint drama is  its atmospheric  eeriness. The crashing  waves pounding on  granite rocks and rugged fishermen singing robust  folk songs,add a  kind of  creepy lustre to the  plot.

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The  plot,let me warn you, is more  steaming than hot. There is  more smoke here than the  fire that finally engulfs  the  characters. Two  warring sisters Priscilla and Mary Beth, played with genuine filial affinity  by Sophie Lowe(the good sister)  and  Morgan Saylor(bad sister),come together after their mother’s death to hide the corpse of  a drunken sod who attacks  the younger rebellious sister.

 If  you think that’s  as dark as  it gets, then save your shining   torchlights for later. The initial murder  makes way for  another murder of  a prostitute before we are looking full-frontally at a flesh racket.

Veteran actress Margo Martindale is splendid as the  brothel  owner who keeps the  men in the  seaside town happy so  that they don’t turn aggressive  on  the female population.But the  finest  performances  is from the Scottish actress  Gayle Rankin as a sex worker   confronted by the dilemma  of  a  murdered  friend and mounting gratitude towards the  person responsible for  the  crime.

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 It’s delightful to watch Ms Martindale and  the other reputed  veteran actresses  in the cast  sparring  on issues of morality as though in a kitty party gone sour.Corruption doesn’t only involve immoral depraved  people.Nice old ladies will do, thank you.The plot puts this  harsh reality across with convulsive twists and turns.

 Food plays a  very important  part in the way the women bond in this fishing town . Fish dishes and yummy deserts are put on plates by these aged women who  know better than most that the way  to a man and a  woman’s heart is  not always the  place  below the stomach but also the stomach.

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 The narrative avoids the frantic pace  of  the   standard  noire thrillers. This is a somnambulant  town stricken by a  moral crisis  that  cannot be resolved by a young idealistic  cop(Will Brittain) and his  decadent partner who  advises him to look the  other way.

We could well do the same, provided we aren’t suckers  for dark narratives that take us to places where we are compelled  to go. But once there, we  may feel the  journey into the heart of darkness was  not worth it.