Galveston (Blu-ray Review)

Roy (Ben Foster, Hell or High Water) 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 (Elle Fanning, The Beguiled), a young woman being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, Roy must find a way to stop his boss from pursuing them while trying to out-run the demons from his and Rocky’s pasts.


Galveston is the new film directed by Melanie Laurent from a script by Nic Pizzolatto (writing as Jim Hammett) – starring Ben Foster and Elle Fanning. Roy (Foster) is an enforcer and mob hitman. His boss, Stan (Beau Bridges), sends him off to the doctor to get check on and is given a lung cancer diagnosis. This doesn’t sit well with Roy and he takes off to contemplate things.

Roy is eventually set up by Stan but ends up escaping along with a young woman named Rocky, who was being held captive. The two make a run for it and escape. They don’t necessarily escape far – remaining in Galveston taking in the scenery and contemplating the life they’ve been living. Rocky also has a young daughter and in the face of his diagnosis Roy decides on closing all of his personal ties before tine runs out. This gives Roy plenty of time to contemplate his revenge while settling old scores.

I did not know what Galveston was initially. My interest peaked, however, when I saw that Melanie Laurent would be making her American feature-film directing debut. For those that don’t know who Melanie Laurent is – she starred as Shosanna in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. She has been directing now for a few years. Another interesting selling point was that of it being source material from Nic Pizzolatto’s first novel of the same name. One would have thought that would be enough – it gets even more peculiar. Apparently, Pizzolatto had his name removed from the film (writing as Jim Hammett) due to Laurent polishing up the screenplay herself, which resembled nothing of the original script. This is just from what I’ve read. It’s Hollywood and this happens all the time.

With that in mind, Galveston is a cool little evocative piece of filmmaking. Roy and Rocky get along really well – that they almost end up joined at the hip even though they are both very dysfunctional people. Roy is dying and is out for revenge and Rocky needs to protect her daughter from the life she is trying to leave behind. They seem to gradually become co-dependent with one another while remaining purely on platonic terms. There’s an almost father-daughter aspect to their interactions.

I have not read the novel or the original screenplay, so I can’t comment on the source material but as an exercise in American filmmaking Laurent brings her A-game to the big screen. Galveston is a terrific little film that I hope will not be overlooked by audiences. I do hope that Laurent continues to make more films here in America, as well. She’d definitely got the chops for it, while bringing her French aesthetic to it. Galveston is highly recommended.



Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Galveston on Blu-ray looks bright, vivid, and lush. It will turn on you in a second when things go south turning into a moody and drab piece depending on what’s onscreen. Contrast and sharpness levels look great and I did not detect any instances of boosting or tweaking.

Depth: One can almost say that Galveston falls into “neo-noir” territory. Certain compositions look like paintings come to life. The Blu-ray frames these scenes perfectly.

Black Levels: There are a lot of scenes that take place in darkly lit areas and dark exteriors altogether and I never saw any instances of crush or anomalies hamper the picture quality.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is lush and vivid before shifting into patches of drab and mute colors. The color wheel is very much part of the tone of the film.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones appear natural, with exception to Ben Foster at times. He’s a sick man and his complexion shifts between flush and sickly here and there. Elle looks great at all times.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not detect instances of noise, dirt, debris, or artifacts.



Audio Format(s): English DTS HD-MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Galveston does not scream demo-material but it does scream above average material in terms of sound quality. The lossless soundtrack is more than capable of handling what is thrown at it. It’s a high octane and esoteric adventure and the lossless soundtrack handles the various sonic elements quite nicely.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel is at rest most of time – it only wakes up for shootouts and scenes featuring heavy machinery and/or cars and diesel engines starting up.

Surround Sound Presentation: Galveston is a front driven film with a few instances that shift around into the rear channels. Early on there’s a nice little shootout that spins 360-degrees that envelop the room. The rest shifts between nice ambience and scenery.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean, crisp, and clear. Even when Elle speaks in hushed tones, you can hear every word without a problem.



This documentary runs just under 20-minutes. It’s informative and features interviews with the cast and director Melanie Laurent. It’s sort of the typical press-kit filler, but I enjoyed Melanie’s thoughtful insight on the film and her grasp of the material and what she was trying to convey. The 1-star rating is for quantity of extras not quality. An audio commentary by Laurent would have been awesome, though.

  • The Making of Galveston



Galveston was a cool little neo-noir thriller. It is a bit of a slow burn but only in parts. Ben Foster and Elle Fanning are great together in platonic roles and that was sort of refreshing to see. I think the ending is what seals the deal in terms of impact and I did not see that coming. The video and audio specifications are top-notch but extras leave more to be desired. Galveston is recommended!


Galveston is available on

4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD!





Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

1 Response to “Galveston (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Mike

    nice review. I really really liked this flick. I love Ben, such an under rated actor