Featured image: Greg Finley as Tommy in Downeast. (Courtesy of Justin Cook PR.)
Shooting on location in Portland, Maine, the new crime drama Downeast feels true to its setting and town as it depicts a gritty – albeit fictional – crime side of the town that’s more commonly seen in crime films set in Boston, Chicago or New York. Much of this authenticity has to be lent to its writers, Greg Finley (who writes the story, produces and stars in the film, and is from Portland) and screenwriter and director Joe Raffa.
This film’s story concerns Tommy (Finley), a man in his early 30’s working on his dad’s lobster fishing boat, shooting the shit with his father, George (Gareth Williams) and their friend Marty (Kirk Fox). The town’s interests are also controlled by a thug named Kerrigan (Judson Mills). Tommy minds his own business; but when his best friend’s sister, Emma (Dylan Silver), comes to town and begins asking questions about something from their past, the crime in Portland engulfs them and rears its ugly head.
The way this past incident drives the story of the film is great, and the villains on the other side of our hero’s story – Kerrigan the boss and Brennan (Joss Glennie-Smith), the mentally unstable muscle, are both great additions. At one point Kerrigan explains to Brennan why he can’t go around killing people. “You can sheer a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once,” he says. “Our economy is predicated on fear and the possibility of death. Not death.”
That’s one aspect that makes Downeast’s worldbuilding is so interesting, as it also incorporates themes of being tethered to a town because of familial obligation. It’s also always so interesting to me seeing these kinds of small-town stories in towns we don’t see a lot of in terms of representation. It’s so cool seeing how it’s tailored around Portland, or “The Port.”
For my podcast The Filmcraziest Show, I was able to chat with Greg Finley for the film and pick his brain about portraying Tommy and his involvement in the writing (and he also produces the film). In the conversation, we discuss some of the music in the film, what it was like filming in his hometown of Portland, Maine, getting a painting of a lighthouse, playing the character of Tommy, his involvement with writing the story, lobster fishing, and a Tom Brady joke in the screenplay. Those are some highlights, but there’s a lot more in the conversation and you can watch the episode on YouTube directly below. You can also listen to the podcast below or go here to download it.
Downeast was released on VOD today, July 13, and can be streamed on platforms like iTunes or Amazon Prime and more.