Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mélanie Laurent|
|Screenplay by||Jim Hammett|
by Nic Pizzolatto
|Music by||Marc Chouarain|
|Edited by||Joseph Krings|
|Distributed by||RLJE Films|
Galveston is a 2018 American thriller film directed by Mélanie Laurent. It is written by Nic Pizzolatto (under the pseudonym Jim Hammett) and based on his novel of the same name. It follows a dying hitman (Ben Foster), who escapes a set up and heads to the titular town to plan his revenge, taking a young girl who was kidnapped by his boss (Elle Fanning).
New Orleans, 1988. Roy, a hitman, is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and storms out of his doctor's office. Roy returns to his hometown of Galveston after a sting is turned against him where he plans his revenge. Roy is a heavy-drinking criminal enforcer and mob hit man whose boss set him up in a double-cross scheme. After killing his would-be assassins before they could kill him, Roy discovers Rocky, a young escort being held captive and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape.
On the ride to his hometown she tells him she thought it was a legitimate business because she found it in the yellow pages and had no idea how it really was. Rocky asks him to stop because she says she can get money owed to her. Roy, sitting in the car hears a gun shot, and Rocky and a 3 1/2 year old girl, Tiffany, return to the car. Rocky says she fired a shot at the wall and didn't hurt anyone. Roy later finds out that Rocky shot and killed her stepdad.
After Roy leaves for a few days and reconciles with an ex from the past he returned to find out Rocky's real story, and that she (thinking he left for good) is escorting again. He then finds out Tiffany, who she claimed was her sister, is really her daughter, by her stepdad in rape. He finally understood why she picked her up saying she could take care of her better even though they had people chasing them. Roy calls his old boss to blackmail him with incriminating documents found during the failed sting, demanding $75,000 to stay silent. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, he tells Rocky that he will give her the money and convinces her to go to school and become something.
Just as Roy and Rocky finally start recognizing their feelings for one another on a date at a local bar, they are captured by a crew belonging to Roy's old boss. They are separated, and Roy is severely beaten. After awhile, a woman from his past finds him and frees him, telling him to flee before someone finds him. He looks for Rocky to find her dead in another room from a brutal beating and gang rape. Roy escapes the compound, killing a bodyguard outside and taking his car and gun. He is emotionally distraught as he leaves, and is involved in a car accident. He wakes in a hospital where a nurse says he has Aspergillosis, not cancer, and his condition is treatable by the state.
He is then in jail on multiple charges including a warrant. He is then seen talking to his old boss' lawyer where they imply they know where the little girl lives and will kill her and the motel staff if he gives out his old boss' name. Because of his love for Rocky and the child, he stays silent until 20 years later when he is out of prison and still living in Galveston. Tiffany, now an adult, shows up at his door as the town is preparing for Hurricane Ike. He tells her he will tell her the truth then he wants her to leave for her safety. He tells her that her so called sister was her mother and she was not abandoned, giving her much needed closure. Roy is then seen as he is walking toward the beach as he experiences flashbacks of Rocky on the beach.
- Ben Foster as Roy
- Elle Fanning as Rocky
- Lili Reinhart as Tiffany
- Anniston and Tinsley Price as Young Tiffany
- Adepero Oduye as Loraine
- Robert Aramayo as Tray
- María Valverde as Carmen
- Beau Bridges as Stan
- CK McFarland as Nancy
In November 2016, it was announced Elle Fanning and Ben Foster had joined the cast of the film, with Mélanie Laurent directing, from a screenplay written by Nic Pizzolatto who wrote the novel of the same name. Tyler Davidson, Jean Doumanian, Patrick Daly, Kevin Flanigan and Sean O’Brien will serve as producers and executive producers, respectively under their Low Spark Films and Jean Doumanian banners. In February 2017, Lili Reinhart, Beau Bridges, María Valverde and Robert Aramayo joined the cast of the film. Marc Chouarain composed the film's score.
Pizzolatto is credited under the pseudonym Jim Hammett, following Laurent's contributions to the screenplay, despite not being formally engaged as a writer on the project, feeling the final script did not reflect his own.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018. Shortly after, RLJE Films acquired distribution rights to the film. It also screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival on September 23, 2018. It was released on October 19, 2018.
As of June 2020[update], the film holds a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews with an average rating of 6.29 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads "Galveston's talented cast - and confident direction from Mélanie Laurent - help set this uneven crime drama apart from less distinguished genre entries". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on reviews from 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Keith Watson of Slant Magazine gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying: "A pensive but plodding story of criminals on the run, Mélanie Laurent's Galveston is a moody, slow-burn drama that never quite catches fire." Peter Debruge of Variety called the film "tough, uncompromising, and hauntingly believable, just a little too slow and a lot too serious for today's typical action audiences." Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com wrote, "despite its limitations, this is a consistently engrossing, sometimes powerful crime drama that feels rich despite its brief running time." Mike D'Angelo of The A.V. Club gave the film a "B−" grade, stating that "it confirms Laurent as a significant talent behind the lens, particularly adept at building queasy tension."
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- D'Angelo, Mike (October 16, 2018). "Mélanie Laurent makes an uneven but urgent crime drama from Nic Pizzolatto's Galveston". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 8, 2019.