Galveston (film)

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Galveston poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMélanie Laurent
Produced by
Screenplay byJim Hammett
Based onGalveston
by Nic Pizzolatto
Music byMarc Chouarain
CinematographyArnaud Potier
Edited byJoseph Krings
  • Jean Doumanian Productions
  • Low Spark Films
Distributed byRLJE Films
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • March 10, 2018 (2018-03-10) (SXSW)
  • October 19, 2018 (2018-10-19) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$190,093[2]

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).

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018. It was released on October 19, 2018 by RLJE Films.


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.



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.[3] In February 2017, Lili Reinhart, Beau Bridges, María Valverde and Robert Aramayo joined the cast of the film.[4][5][6] Marc Chouarain composed the film's score.[7]

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.[8]


Principal photography began in February 2017. Filming took place in Savannah, Georgia.[9]


Lead actress Elle Fanning and director Mélanie Laurent promoting the film at the Deauville American Film Festival.

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018.[10] Shortly after, RLJE Films acquired distribution rights to the film.[11] It also screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival on September 23, 2018.[12][13] It was released on October 19, 2018.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

As of June 2020, 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".[15] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on reviews from 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16]

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."[17] 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."[18] Matt Zoller Seitz of wrote, "despite its limitations, this is a consistently engrossing, sometimes powerful crime drama that feels rich despite its brief running time."[19] 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."[20]


  1. ^ "Gavelston". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "Galveston (2018) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (November 2, 2016). "AFM: Melanie Laurent to Direct Ben Foster, Elle Fanning in English-Language Debut 'Galveston'". Variety. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Patten, Dominic (February 10, 2017). "'Riverdale's Lili Reinhart Joins Ben Foster & Elle Fanning In 'Galveston'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 22, 2017). "Martin Wallström Cast In 'Militia'; Robert Aramayo Lands In 'Galveston'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  6. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (February 11, 2017). "First look at Ben Foster in Nic Pizzalotto thriller 'Galveston". Screen International. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Marc Chouarain Scoring Mélanie Laurent's Galveston". FilmMusicReporter. February 17, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Nolfi, Joey (October 18, 2018). "Galveston: Nic Pizzolatto credited on Mélanie Laurent film under pseudonym". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Bates, Alan (February 2, 2017). "Independent feature film 'Galveston' casting call". Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Day-Ramos, Dino (February 7, 2018). "SXSW Announces Midnighters Lineup; Wes Anderson's 'Isle Of Dogs' To Close Film Fest". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (July 26, 2018). "Elle Fanning-Ben Foster Drama 'Galveston' Acquired by RLJE Films". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  12. ^ Hipes, Patrick (August 22, 2018). "Ike Barinholtz & Tiffany Haddish's 'The Oath' To World Premiere At Los Angeles Film Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  13. ^ "Galveston". Los Angeles Film Festival. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ "Fall Movie Preview". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  15. ^ "Galveston (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  16. ^ "Galveston Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  17. ^ Watson, Keith (October 15, 2018). "Galveston". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  18. ^ Debruge, Peter (October 19, 2018). "Film Review: 'Galveston'". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (October 19, 2018). "Galveston". Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  20. ^ 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.

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