Roy (Ben Foster) is a hitman on his last legs. Things have gone terribly wrong when he regains consciousness tied to a chair, discovering that instead of doing a job, he IS the job – his mobster boss has it in for him. He manages to escape, and to free the frightened young prostitute, Raquel, on his way out, but he knows it’s only temporary.
Raquel (Elle Fanning) doesn’t have anywhere to go, so they pick up a third wheel (Raquel’s baby sister Tiffany), and head for Roy’s home town of Galveston to regroup and hopefully plot some revenge. Of course, Roy’s zero-fucks lifestyle is not quite as becoming now that he’s got a ready-made family, but forgiving-and-forgetting isn’t really in Roy’s repertoire, or his boss’s, for that matter.
On paper it sounds like a typical noir crime thriller, but in fact, in the hands of director Melanie Laurent, it becomes something else. It gets filtered through a distinctly European lens. The pace is sometimes languid, the cinematography often plain old gorgeous. It’s a slowed-down piece that gives both the audience, and the protagonist, time to think, time to plot, time to savour, time to say goodbye. And that drives us off-kilter because the material can be so dark while Laurent’s picture looks so sweet: the difference between what we know and how we experience is jolting.
Roy and Raquel are interesting to watch because we feel that they’re living on the edge – perhaps even on the outer edge of their lifespans. They’re stuck in Galveston and running out of options. Laurent is poetic with her lensing but make no mistake: the reality here is quite gritty and desperate. And Roy is not exactly a redemptive character. He’s kind of an asshole, and Foster, who is good, is not quite sympathetic. And Fanning, also good, isn’t going to go easy on him. Galveston turns the genre on its head, but it’s not smooth watching, and the prognosis isn’t pretty.
I’d be up for that.
I’ve read the book a couple of years ago (written by Nic Pizzolatto, the same guy behind “True Detective”) and I remember it being really good. I’ve been looking forward to the adaptation of it since then! Glad to see that it’s great!
Interesting take on a well-worn genre. Sounds like you liked it.
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How did Ben Foster just lumped into these roles? This feels and sounds like just about every drama he has done….I really wish he would expand his range just a bit.
It’s true. He loves his indies, and he does seem to prefer these gritty characters too.
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It would be sort of nice to see him in a Ryan Gosling type of role,he has the chops and the looks for a leading man. Its just when I see this type of movie and he is listed on the cast,I tend to pass it by….
I love Foster and Fanning and you certainly make the direction sound interesting so another one for the movie list 🙂 Thanks!
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