Well-crafted, but unevenly-written, Galveston is carried by its two great lead performers and some beautiful visuals.
Technical Merit

Review: GALVESTON Barely Misses The Mark

After making its debut at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival, Galveston is making its way into theaters and on demand. The film follows a dying hitman who returns to his hometown to plot his revenge after escaping a set-up.

Ultimately, this film has a lot of potential, and manages to be thoroughly interesting, but ends up feeling somewhat uneven and underdeveloped.

The film’s tone isn’t always consistent, and that ends up being quite distracting. The film is predominantly a drama, but there are some sudden moments of action that are jarring. The film would have been better off if it had fully committed to being a character drama instead of a blend of action and drama. That would have made it feel much more unique and personal.

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(L-R) Elle Fanning as Raquel Arceneaux and Ben Foster as Roy Cady in the thriller-drama film “GALVESTON” a RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

Additionally, the film veers into melodramatic territory at times. A significant issue with the film is that it often went too big. Almost every time it tried to elicit emotion from the audience, it went for a simple tear-jerking moment rather than a truly effective emotional scene. The film also has some empty metaphors throughout, a frequent characteristic of melodrama.

That being said, the story is still quite compelling. The pacing is steady, and the dialogue is well-written. The characters are developed well, too, making the story even more compelling. Although they are both rather archetypal, the two lead characters are likable and sympathetic, even without some of the needless twists the film tries to add.

(L-R) Ben Foster as Roy Cady and Elle Fanning as Raquel Arceneaux in the thriller-drama film “GALVESTON” a RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

The film is also quite well-shot. The cinematography is very strong. There were a lot of great camera movements and framings, especially during the action sequences. There are two scenes in particular— one in the beginning and one in the end— that were highly impressive. These scenes did a great job of building suspense and tension.

The cast holds their own in the film, too. Ben Foster delivers another excellent leading performance in this film. It seems like he has been consistently improving, with his recent roles being some of his best. Elle Fanning is also good, but not quite as strong as usual. She has a few scenes in which she is crying, and her emotion doesn’t come across as entirely believable. For the rest of the film, she is good, though.

Overall, Galveston was a solid film. Even though it wasn’t the most fully developed, it had an interesting story, nice execution, and good performances.

Galveston is in theaters and on demand beginning October 19.

Sean Boelman
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film; however, he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.
Well-crafted, but unevenly-written, <i>Galveston</i> is carried by its two great lead performers and some beautiful visuals.Review: GALVESTON Barely Misses The Mark