Review: Galveston

5 10

PLOT: A terminally ill thug (Ben Foster) is double-crossed by his boss and sent into a deadly ambush. He survives, rescuing a young woman (Elle Fanning) in the process. Marked for death, the two of them must now run for their lives.

REVIEW: GALVESTON is a movie I thought I was going to see at last year’s TIFF, but it was pulled at the last minute when the sudden inability of the cast to attend the premiere made it ineligible to play as planned. Truth be told, GALVESTON being pulled out of TIFF is probably for the best as, while not a bad film, it’s a little too unsteady a ride to have ever connected with the festival audience in a big way, especially so late in the fest.

It certainly has an interesting lineup of talent involved. It’s based on a novel by Nic Pizzolatto, and it certainly honors many of his tried-and-true themes, with Ben Foster’s anti-hero cut from the same cloth as Matthew McConaughey in “True Detective” season one, and Colin Farrell in the second. What’s really intriguing is the choice of French actress Melanie Laurent to direct. Still best known for her role in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, Laurent’s actually directed a handful of acclaimed films in France, so she’s an established director and to be sure, having a female perspective being infused into this hyper-macho world does distinguish it from the pack somewhat, even if the movie is uneven and occasionally tedious.

GALVESTON actually starts off fairly well, with us seeing Foster’s Roy Cady getting a grim diagnosis and almost immediately walking into an ambush set up by his oily boss (Beau Bridges – who’s never been more evil). Laurent doesn’t linger on the violence, making it chaotic and tough to make out (not helped by the perhaps too moody dark photography by Arnaud Potier), diffusing any notion of this being an action film. The big problem is nothing interesting enough happens as the movie goes on to excuse the fact that it’s ignoring its crime movie bonafides. Once Foster and Fanning go on the lam, it becomes a typical road movie, lacking any real sense of flavor and I’m sure the story worked much better on the page.

All that said, Ben Foster’s great in a role that furthers his new tough guy image, being very much in the mold of his work in HELL OR HIGH WATER. He used to strike me as a little too self-consciously method, but he’s really settled into a charismatic, soulful actor and even if the movie is a little tepid, his performance is great. Ditto Elle Fanning, as the young prostitute with a past who uses the chaos of the moment as an excuse to rescue her young, abused sister from the hands of her stepfather.

As in much of Pizzolatto’s work, GALVESTON rides towards a grim conclusion, with a surprisingly harsh denouement for one of the main characters that took me by surprise. There’s even a darkly comic twist of fate later on that probably come off as brilliant in novel form, but leads to an anti-climactic end on film. However, as uneven as GALVESTON is, it’s not bad as far as VOD entries go making it something of an interesting failure. This is one that comes awfully close to being good and while it doesn’t quite make it, you can’t help but respect how close they came.


Source: JoBlo.com



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