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Friday, March 18, 2022

Downeast 2021 * * Stars


"Big boys get in big trouble". Just ask Tommy DeVito. Oh wait, same first name just different movie.

Anyway, do we really need another conch about organized crime? Oh well why not. APS films is there to keep that gravy train rolling. Their latest is 2021's Downeast. Yeah yeah yeah, everybody in Downeast talks tough, looks menacing, and loves to scowl. Yup, they're proud of it. Talk about a small time underbelly in the most obvious, possible way.

Downeast stars unknowns that have been in many films in the past. You just don't know their C-list personas from Adam. Downeast is also East Coast to the nth degree. The lead is Greg Finley (he plays the brutish Tommy). Finley couldn't look any more like Tom Brady if he tried (yeah I think it's the height and the bone structure).

Downeast is helmed by Joe Raffa. Not uncommon to the Hollywood industry, he's also an actor too. Raffa chooses the state of Maine as his earnest setting. Contrary to popular demand, Joe doesn't enlarge on lobsters, coastlines, and well, blueberries. Downeast is rather Raffa's Mean Streets for The Pine Tree State.

Downeast is on the down-low, the downsized, and the down-and-dirty. As they say, "stay out of my place, I know your face". The bad guys here (or the goons) aren't millionaires or dudes that wear suits. They just run a bar/boxing ring, run the town (that's a stretch), and don't necessarily kill, just inflict the fear of killing. One of the henchmen characters looks creepy but parodies his role more than anything else (that would be Brennan played by ginger-haired Joss Giennie-Smith). I mean who does he think he is, The Nordic Man?

All in all, Downeast with its numerous flashbacks, its machismo, and its cold violence may think it's putting Maine on the map as a cinematic, Mob hotspot. Nah. It's too conventional, too stock, and too blase for that. Don't let Downeast's novel, mise en scene dupe you.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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