“Full of Detours,” a review of “Galveston” by Nathan H. Box
Recommendation: 4/5 Stars, SHOWTIME
Director: Melanie Laurent, Writers: Jim Hammett, Nic Pizzolatto, Starring: Elle Fanning, Ben Foster, Lili Reinhart
Plot: “After escaping a setup, a dying hitman returns to his hometown of Galveston where he plans his revenge.” -IMDB
Review: For my seventh film of the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival, I set my sights on one of the most original pieces at this year’s festival and a place I have had the luxury of visiting a few times. Over the next hour and a half, I was treated to something that appeared to be simple but steadily grew into one of my favorite movies of the year. It all begins with a hitman played by Ben Foster who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer thanks to his smoking habit. From there, the story grew more complicated and more engrossing.
Roy, Ben Foster’s character, after receiving the diagnosis, returns to work. His boss wants him to do a hit, but there is a catch. No guns. From the beginning, this doesn’t seem right. As Roy and an associate enter the house, their fear of a setup is realized. Luckily for Roy, he has never been very good at following the rules. All that stands between him and certain death is the gun he wasn’t supposed to bring. With death all around, he meets a young woman played brilliantly by Elle Fanning. Fearing for her safety, he rescues her, but that doesn’t mean she is free. Roy’s boss wanted him dead for a reason. This means life in Louisiana will be put in the rearview and a life on the run will begin. This is where this film really draws the audience in by slowly revealing layers of complication.
Elle Fanning plays Raquel, a young woman who has turned to a life of prostitution to support herself. Thanks to a detour that also serves as an analogy to the twist and turns of life, we learn she is doing more than supporting herself. She is supporting someone who we are led to believe is her sister. Together, Roy, Raquel, and young Tiffany continue onto Galveston, TX. The middle section of this film then becomes about the sins of the past consuming our characters with a series of reveals that left me breathless and some of the best acting I have seen this year. Ultimately, these sins are conquered, and Roy and Raquel find in each other an opportunity to break out of the cycle of violence and sex that has come to dominate their lives.
But Roy’s former boss will not go quietly into the night. At the emotional height of the film, Raquel is captured in a struggle. Roy is left to do what he does best, exact death and revenge. These moments are tense and are still causing the hairs on my arms to rise as I write this, but they fail to compare to how this whole thing ends with one of the biggest revelations of truth I have ever seen. For this and so many other reasons, I recommend seeing this film when it is available for wide release later this month.
Be good to each other,
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