Downeast is more of a character drama about people living a life so ingrained with the dark underbelly of their small town with little hope of break free of the cycle. While there is some action peppered throughout, it never becomes the focus of the film. The refrained used of action makes the scenes of violence more impactful when it does happen.
We start following Tommy as he makes his way through the small town that he’s live in all his life. This town though has deep roots in criminal activity which is just part of everyday life. When the sister of his dead best friend comes back to town, she starts asking questions in hopes of finding out exactly what happened to her brother. What follows is a drama about the choices we make and the paths we take.
Strong acting is what carries the movie. There are a few misses but overall, the cast hits the mark. Tommy (Greg Finley) is the lead and does a decent job of playing someone stuck in this endless loop while also dealing with guilt of his past. Then we have Emma (Dylan Silver) who’s brother Mikey (Spencer Watson) died years ago, but now she’s home to take care of her mother while wanting to know what happened. Dylan plays the “girl next door” to near perfection. From awkward jokes to the cold resolve to find out what she wants to know. She is the definite stand out here. Where the acting falters is the actual bad guys of the film. While the rest of the cast has layered characters, they are just over the top bad for the sake of being bad.
Another standout of Downeast is the cinematography. Whether it was filmed in Maine or not, it sure felt like it. The use of grays and overcast drove home the feel of small fishing town in the northeast. And by contrast, the flashbacks to summer had bright colors and blue skies. Its moments like this when you really appreciate the talent of crew, and it goes a long way to convey the different feelings of the scenes. Unfortunately, the same care wasn’t taken with the audio, there were times where you simply wouldn’t be able to hear what was being said. This could have been to the mixing of background or that the dialog was far too quiet for that moment.
Downeast turned out better then I honestly thought it would. I was expecting another gritty crime action movie but that’s not what this is, and it’s better because of that. With its slower pace that gives us a chance to care about what’s going on and without the reliance of shocking violence or action, a good drama was crafted. Of course, it’s not perfect, the sound is a weak point as are some of the characters. But none of those takes away for making this a movie worth watching, as long as you don’t expect John Wick or The Departed.
7 out of 10