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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


After escaping a set-up, a dying hitman (Ben Foster) returns to his hometown of Galveston where he plans his revenge.

Review by Louise Keller:
There's a sadness that permeates throughout this gritty tale about a hitman heading for Galveston in search of redemption. Actress Melanie Laurent's English language directing debut portrays an ugly world on a backdrop of beautiful lighting and dreamy cinematography. The look of the film is what leaves the greatest impact. Also memorable is the key relationship between Ben Foster's angry hitman and Elle Fanning's 19 year old hooker. Foster mumbles and some of the dialogue is incomprehensible, but the nature of the unexpectedly non-romantic relationship is far more interesting than you might expect. While the story plays by the numbers and much of the action is predictable, the dynamic between Foster and Fanning works well and all the elements come together in the end.

In the short 8 minute set up, we learn that Foster's Roy is intense, angry, impatient and has a medical condition he does not want to accept. When his crime boss Stan (Beau Bridges) tells him not to take guns to the job, that can only mean one thing - he is not expected to come back alive. There are no surprises when the job goes wrong but Raquel (Fanning), wearing a slinky red dress that looks as though it has been painted on, is one for which he does not bargain. The scenes when Roy and Raquel are driving at night, relentless rain teeming down through the windows, neon lights beyond are visually fabulous. 'Be straight with me; I'll be straight with you,' he tells her. 'You shouldn't walk around so angry all the time,' she says.

On the road to Galveston, Raquel persuades Roy to make a pit stop - to pick up money she is owed, she tells him. There is no money, but there is a three year old girl who appears after a gunshot. 'Hell is real' reads the sign on the side of the road. It's a slow burner of a film, oozing with mood as we get to know the central characters. Watch for the explosive motel room scene when revelations and confessions are made. The journey to redemption is slow and painful.

There may be differing opinions about the coda, when the action jumps 20 years. We are told things we already know, which in part lessens their is well done and while the film may not ultimately soar, there are enough points to engage including Foster and Fanning, that keep the narrative and our interest alive. Don't expect to hear Glenn Campbell's classic country tune of the title.

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(US, 2018)

CAST: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano, Mark Hicks, Maria Valverde,

PRODUCER: Tyler Davidson

DIRECTOR: Melanie Laurent

SCRIPT: Nic Pizzolatto (based on his novel)


EDITOR: Joseph Krings

MUSIC: Marc Chouarain, Eugenia Jacobson


RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes



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