If you like the road-trip genre films where the unlikeliest of people are thrown together to escape a life that oppresses, Galveston is for you.
The neo-noir story introduces Roy (Ben Foster), a sometime criminal and muscle for Stan (a walk-on role for Beau Bridges) set somewhere in New Orleans. Roy is getting jack of the no-end-in-sight routine; yet he lacks the ability to exit the quagmire in which he now exists. That is, until Stan attempts a double-cross that puts Roy in the firing line. Naturally Roy is sour, and after learning he has a terminal illness, it’s enough to reconsider his options.
On deciding to leave the town far behind, he quickly acquires his sidekicks – Raquel (a role that shows a different side to Elle Fanning) and her young sister. Raquel is similarly living a precarious existence and jumps at the chance of a reluctant gentleman protector for company.
A few coy glances in each other’s direction, hints at a relationship about to blossom. But it is more deep-rooted than that – Raquel entrusts Roy with the truth behind her and her sister’s upbringing; Roy opens up a little more he spends in her company. However, as quick as their connection begins, it’s ripped from their grasp.
The story was taken from a novel by Nic Pizzolatto, creator and writer of True Detective. It would be intriguing to read the book, as the film offers very little that’s new or different on the genre. Similarities can be drawn to many road-trip films where the protagonists escape their helpless situations, only to fall into another hopeless situation.
Ben Foster pulls off Roy’s powerlessness that warrants the viewer’s empathy. Fanning’s scenes where she relives her painful past are engaging. French director Melanie Laurent explained their distinct acting styles,
“Before shooting, I sat down with Ben and talked through every detail of his character so he ready ‘got it’ going into production. Elle relied more on instinct and we had more conversations on set about her character and what she was feeling at any given moment. I loved how differently they both approached their work.”
Galveston opens nationally on Thursday 4 April 2019.
Directed by: Melanie Laurent
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto based on his novel
Stars: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano