Whoa, in my previous review of the new Netflix film Tigerland, I had just bitched that I have to slog through 10 original streaming service movies where there are usually 8 pieces of dog shit and only 2 at least half way decent ones. 10 to 2 is a terrible ratio when dealing with 90 minute to 120 minute movies. And I am only talking half way decent two movies. What is the ratio on near or perfect masterpieces? Probably 1 in 100. The last original streaming movie that blew my mind near masterpiece wise was probably El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. BLOW THE MAN DOWN, released back on March 20th on Amazon Prime, joins Tigerland as one of those 2 half way decent diamonds in the shitty, shitty rough. This begs the question: Am I know going to have to slog through another eight shitty ones before I get to two hits in a row again or was this the tenth one in one cycle and so everything is reset, where I could possibly get a rare third in a row? Ah the possibilities. Anyway, to the movie I’m actually reviewing here, it is quite decent, a solid, actually original dark tale that is a tight 90 minutes with no fluff or filler. Again, like my complaint with Tigertail, could watched a half our more to this little universe, maybe some plot threads added such as a possible relationship between the cop and one of the sisters in this, or more background to the town’s uhhhh, without spoiling anything, age old dirty business. But what is contradictory about me wanting more is that this film has a smart way of giving you only enough information here and there for you to eventually fit all the puzzle pieces together to get a somewhat visible essence by the story’s end. It doesn’t paint a full picture for you and it doesn’t spoon feed you shit like a lot of other movies would. So me asking for more might ruin one of the perks the film has going for it. An extra half hour would say, blow all its strengths down.
Yet again, IMDB.com has the perfect log line without spoiling any of the dark and moody little small town tale: “Two Maine local town girls attempt to cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deep into the criminal underbelly of their hometown, uncovering the town’s darkest secrets.” This film sucks you in to this little towns world, and it is quite remarkable with how short the run time is that these handful of characters get complete arcs and none of them have only one dimensional personalities. The only real actress you might know in this is Margo Martindale, who was on The American, Justified, and a bunch of other stuff you might’ve seen, and if you know her, you know she’s a hell of an actress. Here is no different as she plays Enid, the owner of Oceanview Hotel, the key to one of the small town’s dirty secrets. Since I see a lot of movies and know a lot of people, I do know who play the two sisters. One of them is Morgan Saylor, who was Brody’s daughter on the first several season’s of Homeland. She was good on that show, and she’s good here too. She plays the black sheep sister very very convincingly but with enough of a moral compass to be somewhat redeemable. The other smart and work striving sister is played by Sophie Lowe, who played Alice in the failed Once Upon A Time in Wonderland spin off series that went absolutely nowhere and a couple of other small things I’ve seen her in. She’s a hell of an actress and it is a shame she hasn’t been in many high profile stuff throughout her career. Good thing she’s only 29 years old, and still has plenty of time to get that spotlight in the one role that could produce a jump start to stardom and never look back.
The story is simple, dark, and easily kept me entertained thru the short run time. I’ve been hearing comparisons to it being a “Maine Breaking Bad” type deal, but that comparison is completely unfair. First of all, the only thing that should ever be compared to Breaking Bad is the spin off series Better Call Saul. Secondly, it is it’s own thing. It’s own spun spider web tale of intrigue with a little dash of deception. It’s meticulously told, with its own stamp of uniqueness where it shouldn’t really be compared to anything other than another witty crime caper. Gun to my head, maybe I could’ve seen this whole story play out in an 8 to 9 episode season of Fargo on FX, just much less humor than you are used to seeing on that series, but I stand by my claim that its its own thing and if there are any homages to any other film like it, it’s very subtle and not noticeable at all. The movie was directed by two women by the names of Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole, who both have done a bunch of shorts that I haven’t seen (but would like to now), while the former was miscellaneous technical crew on a bunch of older high profile films almost a decade ago. However, whatever learning experiences they have managed to get with their previous job titles, it completely works here. This movie is dark, moody, interesting, with its own palette, flavor, and atmosphere. Definitely one of the best original movies that Amazon Prime has offered that went straight to its streaming service, and I don’t see another one blowing their title just received from me down for quite awhile.