27 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Mélanie Laurent, Icon Film Distribution.

Cast: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Adepero Oduye, Lili Reinhart,
Robert Aramayo, María Valverde, C.K. McFarland.

The novel on which this film is based comes from the creator of the True Detective Nic Pizzolatto. It moves stealthily and is delivered by an implausible director who surprises us all.

Roy Cady (Foster) is a criminal exterminator and mob hit man, who has been set up in a double-cross scheme by his boss. Before they could get to him, Rob kills his would-be assassins. Then Roy discovers ‘Rocky’ (Fanning), a young call girl being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape.

Cady’s doctor has just informed him about the need for his life of crime to come to an end. Determined to find security and refuge, Roy must discover a way to stop his boss from chasing them, while trying to outpace the monsters from his and Rocky’s pasts.

As crime boss Stan, Bridges only has a few short scenes, but the character is a small-timer with misapprehension of splendour. He is repulsive and creepy, who utters a frightening final line.

As the manager of the Galveston motel, McFarland has a minor role, but the character has lived a full life. There’s a compelling air about Aramayo (Nocturnal Animals) who tries to draw the hero into a foolhardy scheme to rob a nearby drug lab. However, the young crook briefly grabs your attention.

Galveston has been skillfully orchestrated and remarkably well performed. Both Foster and Fanning give thrust to this grainy crime drama. It’s resilient, inflexible and persuasively credible, even though it moves really slowly. There are some confines, but this is a steadily absorbing, sometimes convincing drama that’s intense about small-time losers.

To win one of two free DVDs of Galveston, just tell us the name of the actor who plays the title role. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 22 July 2019. Names of the winners will be announced in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 23 July 2019.

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