2019 TIFF Film Review: BLOW THE MAN DOWN (USA 2019) ****

While grieving for the loss of their mother, the Connolly Sisters suddenly find they have a crime to cover up, leading them deep into the underbelly of their salty Maine fishing village.

The setting of this absorbing thriller drama is a fishing village in Easter Cove, Maine.  The film opens in what appears to be a man’s word.  Men are singing in chorus the song “Blow the Man Down”.  But this female directed feature by Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole switches to female mode where the story takes a 180 degree turn.  And more likely for the better.  

Two sisters in a small Maine fishing village try to cover up a violent crime and avoid running afoul of the suspicious and threatening proprietor of the local brothel (Margo Martindale).  One of the sisters murder a low level scumbag while escaping a sexual assault.  She leaves her family knife behind which is picked up by the proprietor who blackmails them to return the money they stole from her.   

The directors create a dark, moody and scary atmosphere which is the reason the film works so well.  Nothing is what is seems in the story where women take the upper hand and men are at their mercy in this deliciously wicked and entertaining fable.