Manion Movie Review: Galveston
Just a warning, I plan on spoiler alerting the shit out of this.
Why did I pay $7.95 to watch it in the first place (the motive of the reviewer being a critical piece of knowledge entering into reading a movie review)? “The past isn’t real. You remember it how you want to remember it.” That was a quote from the movie included in the trailer… and I was hooked. It apparently doesn’t take much to lure me in these days.
In a nutshell, a nutshell being how the producers of the movie sell it, Galveston follows a framed hitman (Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water”) on the run from his boss. Through a chain of unlikely events, he pairs up with a young woman named Rocky (Elle Fanning), who is running from personal demons of her own.
They would go on to use words like ‘dark’ and gritty’ to describe it.
I always think they should just say ‘shitty’ instead of ‘gritty’. Say what you mean.
This is a shitty movie.
Why do I have such strong feelings about it? Because it could have been a wonderful movie without being any less dark and only slightly less shitty. For 97% of the population life is dark and shitty enough without a movie having to pile on. You as the viewer understand from the opening five minutes that you’re in for a story about losers. You take a deep breath and you hope the writer of the movie is talented enough to take it in a direction where the inevitable doesn’t happen.
We know losers lose… we watch because we hope the writer and the producers and actors can tap into their own humanity and give us a story where somehow the world stops shitting on people.
We know a relationship between an older man and a beautiful younger woman, who also has a beautiful daughter, who has fallen on hard times through no fault of her own, will never work out. We know that. We see it playing out all around us every day.
That’s why we need a good writer. Someone who can spin a tale that is plausible and still allows these characters to transcend their circumstances and somehow escape happy. Just happy. Doesn’t have to be rich or famous. Just happy. Can these losers just end up happy for fuck’s sake? Instead, the moment they both feel a glimmer of optimism the world grabs the girl and whisks her away from the man, who only wanted to protect her, to be brutally assaulted, murdered, and left dead and bent over a table.
We know that’s what always happens to beautiful younger women in real life. We understand it. It’s what life does. Would it kill the makers of this movie to tell us a story that we don’t see coming a mile away? Would it leave them brutally assaulted, murdered, and left dead and bent over a table?
That’s how I felt.
And the hitman?
After the woman he cared for was murdered there were a few more murders to come and in the end he was forced to account for all of them because the bad guys knew about the beautiful daughter and threatened that if he didn’t do his time that she would suffer the consequences.
So he did the time.
We know this because the scene faded to black and then “20 Years Later” sat at the bottom of the screen. That part seems accurate at least. Fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it does seem to get intimately involved in lives and seemingly spend a shit-ton of effort pushing people in one direction or the other and then, just as suddenly, it seems to completely lose interest. Maybe it moves on to fuck with other people’s lives.
Maybe fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it is just an excuse we make to ourselves.
So we find our hitman alone during the start of a door-rattling hurricane. Obviously just as haunted as he was before and those 20 years don’t seem more than a few heartbeats. The daughter, all grown up now, unexpectedly knocks on his door and asks about what went down and he tells her and after she leaves, as the storm seems to be reaching its zenith, he walks out of his house and down to the beach to finally be reunited with the girl he just wanted to make happy.
Like the wind isn’t going to feel bad enough when it calms down and sees all the damage that it’s done.