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Film / Blow The Man Down

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Featuring Margo Martindale as Brothel madame Enid, the story follows a small Maine town, where sisters Mary Beth and Priscilla have just finished burying their mother. That night, Mary Beth kills a man in self-defense, but covers it up out of fear of not being believed, and of the other negative consequences. They find that the dead man had $50,000 with him, and try to work through the mess, while his employer at the brothel, some old family friends with dark secrets, and the local police all look into both the disappearance of the man the girls killed, and a local prostitute who he'd murdered shortly beforehand.

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  • The Alcoholic: Enid spends most of the film drinking and has passed out by the time that Alexis smothers her. Also applies to Mary Beth and Priscilla's mother, who had bottles of liquor hidden in her store and home, though she seems to have successfully hidden it from her daughters.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Mary Beth has a history of this.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The old lady posse are kind and their aggression is generally limited to peer pressure, but by the end of the movie they coordinate to dispose of Gorski's body in retribution of his murder of a prostitute shortly before.
  • Black Comedy: Much of the film, though special mention goes to Gorski getting killed with a harpoon.
  • Cool Old Lady: Susie, Doreen and Gail who fashion themselves as protectors of the town in a sense and are viewed with absolute trust and affection by most of its residents.
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  • Crime of Self-Defense: Mary Beth's killing of Gorski, although she's too frightened about what it could mean for her future to report it and drags her sister into getting rid of the body.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Gender Flipped. Justin and Priscilla have some sparks but at the end of the movie after uncovering some signs that could indicate her guilt, although there's no case to be made, he comments to his boss that he doesn't like her anymore.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Averted. The death of a young prostitute kicks off the plot and causes the old lady posse to turn on Enid. Not to mention that her friend spends rest of the movie mourning her. The old lady posse even goes to great lengths to hide the body of her killer
  • Disposing of a Body: The girls put Gorski inside of an old cooler and toss him into the ocean.
  • The Dragon: Gorski serves as Enid's right-hand man at the brothel, and killed one of the girls there, with most of the film dancing around whether he did so on his own, or for Enid.
  • Fat and Skinny: Justin and Coletti.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Mary Beth goes out looking for bad boys, can't hide her bitterness and kill a man then insists on covering it up. Priscilla is more practical, good at running the family fish shop, more of a caregiver towards their late mother and more capable at (somewhat hesitantly) covering up the crime. Unusually for this trope, Mary Beth is the one who wants to go to college and make something more of herself).
  • Good Is Not Soft: Priscilla is clearly the more homely and responsible of the sisters. However, when push comes to shove (or stab in this case), she lies to police officials to protect Mary Beth and even dismembers a dead body with a fillet knife to make it fit inside a cooler!
  • Greek Chorus: While the singing fishermen never actually describe the plot, their singing is a good indicator of the mood for a given section of the movie, and they seem to be hovering in the background during key events without the other characters acknowledging their presence.
  • Guilt-Ridden Accomplice: Priscilla is kind of troubled by what she and her sister have done.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Justin does most of the real police work on the case.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mary Beth pays a visit to the bar the day after the murder, and after having failed to retrieve some evidence.
  • Meaningful Funeral: The films begins with Mary-Margaret's wake, and helps establish the characters and their motives.
  • Miss Kitty: Enid, cultivates an air of this, but is a more sinister character behind closed doors, deeply embittered at her former partners feeling that the town's need for a brothel has passed, and possibly involved in the murder of one of her girls (who'd been stealing from her).
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Justin and his boss. This causes them differing outlooks about the job and they don't communicate very well.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: Officer Coletti provides a non-British example with his swaggering nature, and casual complacency towards the local brothel.
  • No-Tell Motel: Enid's "bed and breakfast".
  • Police Are Useless: Neither Justin nor Coletti are able to make any actual headway in their investigation of Dee's murder. In the end, Gail tells Coletti about Enid's activities and her role in Dee's death, but by then it's too late: Enid is already dead, her money taken by Alexis, and Mary Beth and Priscilla have successfully covered up their role in Gorski's death, with the old ladies help.
  • Secret Keeper: Susie, Gail and Doreen eventually figure out what the sisters did and try to cover for them.
  • Society Marches On: The brothel was originally made to provide and outlet for randy sailors who threaten to seduce/rape their way through all of the good women of the town. But now, the era where most men see that as acceptable (and where there wouldn't be legal avenues to get them convicted) is gone, and the brothel is a more seedy, exploitive operation that none of the women besides Enid feel comfortable about.
  • Tragic Dropout: Mary Beth had to leave college to help take care of her mother, is clearly resentful for this and hopes to go back.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Alexis smother Enid in her sleep at the end.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Enid and the other old women, who now work to try and drive her out of town, while she fights to keep the brothel open.
  • Wham Shot: At the film’s end, Mary Beth and Priscilla walk through their neighborhood, relieved that their ordeal is over, cheerfully greeting their neighbors...and then they walk past Susie Gallagher, hosing out a bloody cooler.
  • What an Idiot!: Mary Beth's decisions set off the story's chain of events. But while it's understandable for her to hang out with Gorski when she's upset (not knowing his true nature) or for her to kill him in self-defense... it becomes less so when she pockets a mysterious bag with thousands of dollars and then immediately uses a $100 bill as payment for a drink in a town where her family's financial troubles are common knowledge. As you can guess, this comes back to bite her.
  • Wretched Hive: The docks are referred to as 'The Desert' and are where most of the drugs and prostitution in town take place.
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