LAFF: Galveston Review

Galveston Theatrical Poster

You may know Nic Pizzolatto as the creator of the hit HBO series, “True Detective.” Yet not many people realize that he’s actually an author too. Of course, when you’re the creator of a hit show and you have a book then it’s only a matter of time before your book gets a film adaptation. For Galveston, that time has come as the book is now the subject of Mélanie Laurent’s latest directorial effort. But is Galveston able to reach the same height as a “True Detective?”

In a way, it both does and doesn’t. The film begins at such a snail pace that it’s very difficult to keep interest in the film. Yet once the film finds its footing then the film develops into a sweet yet heartbreaking tale of two broken people finding each other at the lowest point in their lives.

Galveston follows Roy Cady, a hitman who escapes a set up put together by his employer. During the setup, he rescues Raquel Arceneaux, a young hooker who was found at the scene. Both Roy and Raquel travel to Roy’s hometown of Galveston to plan his revenge.

Galveston - Elle Fanning

To say that Galveston is a slow film would be an understatement. The film is particularly uninteresting and unexciting immediately after Roy and Raquel meet for the very first time. Not to mention, the film feels really long. The film is a little over an hour and a half long but it feels like two and a half. That’s because the film takes its time developing the character during their most uninteresting moments. Also, the film goes off on several tangents. It introduces characters that seem important but they never do anything impactful with them. It felt as if the film would be stale and tedious throughout.

Then the film starts to make a shift. Once the characters get into their groove, you realize that the film isn’t what you initially thought it was. Galveston isn’t an on-the-run film where you see a lot of exciting action. You begin to realize that the film is actually a character drama about two lost, lonely, and incredibly flawed people finding each other. Sure, at first their relationship feels forced to begin with. Plus the characters aren’t exactly the most sympathetic. So it’s not as if you attach yourselves to them at first.

However, as the film progresses you begin to root for their success when they begin to find their groove. They become people that you sort of begin to like. There’s a lot of subtle moments with sweetness and heart in the film. So you begin to not care that they’re broken and believe that they deserve a second chance at life.

This is a result of the good character development for Roy and Raquel. There is a clear character arc that happens in the film. Sure, this development kills the pacing at times. Nevertheless, each layer added gives the characters some depth.

Galveston - Ben Foster

And Ben Foster and Elle Fanning play these characters beautifully. There’s just a sweet nuance to Foster’s performance. In other words, he plays a rough hitman but you can sense that he has a heart of gold on the inside. Not to mention, he gives a nice physical performance as well.

In addition, Elle Fanning gives a very emotional performance as Raquel. Granted, she still gives that monotonic naive-sounding performance from her previous performances. However, once she’s able to let her emotions go then she delivers such a passionate performance.

Overall, Galveston is a long, slow burn type of film. However, once the film gets going you find yourself engrossed by the journey that these two characters are on. It may not be perfect (or have tight pacing) but it’s still a sweet story about two broken people trying to find redemption through each other.

Rating: 3.5/5

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