Grit and grime in the Golden Triangle

The 2018 edition of the SXSW Conference and Festivals is here, and the Cinapse team is on the ground, covering all things film.

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There’s something about Southeast Texas. Movies set in this part of the world have a certain dark quality to them. Maybe it’s the refineries, maybe it’s the murky ocean water. With Galveston, we have another entry in this genre, and a damn fine one to boot.

Based on a novel by Nic Pizzolatto, Galveston mines some of the same ground as his previous work, HBO’s True Detective. While director Mélanie Laurent might be French, she tells a very American story. Her background as a successful actor in her own right shines through as well.

After nailing the manners and mannerisms of West Texas in Hell or High Water, Ben Foster now he pulls off the same thing with the Gulf Coast in his portrayal of Roy. That simmering burn has never been more appropriate as an aging tough guy, wandering the underground of New Orleans.

In Raquel, Elle Fannie brings the same beauty and sensuality she exuded in Neon Demon, but this time it’s wrapped the poverty and tragedy of girl from Orange, Texas. She gets mixed up with some bad people along with Roy, and the two escape The Big Easy for the titular city on the coast. They add her little sister to the mix, but the little one has a secret of her own.

Galveston is a brutal movie, not always though violence, but often enough. The rest of the time this relationship of convenience and need gets pulled and tugged until each heart has been traumatized. With a stellar cast, firm direction, and a setting that can’t be beat for noir, this film is going to make a lot of people happy to be sad.

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