Men of the wild south

Film. The first American film directed by Mélanie Laurent, Galveston is a tragic and flamboyant thriller. A success, explanations.

By Jacques Braunstein

Melanie Laurent annoys with her hypersensitive acting, her sweet music and his sweeping statement. Yet we have to admit that it is a good filmmaker.

Mélanie Laurent avoids the postcard of the United States, her camera closer to her characters.

Breathe in 2014 was a captivating movie on the psychological influence, and the eco-documentary Tomorrow – which she co-directed with Cyril Dion – made more than one million admissions in France, a performance for this type of movie. With Galveston, her fifth feature film, she has set herself a double challenge. Not only is it his first American movie, but it’s also a violent thriller. A genre in which, with the exception of Kathryne Bigelow (Point Break, Detroit …) or Patty Jenkins (Monster), very little female directors have made it.

1987, New Orleans, Roy (Ben Foster seen in Leave No Trace is a little crook who was stolen his girlfriend by his boss. When this one sends back documents to a brown lawyer, he squeezes a dirty shot. But suffering from lung cancer he has nothing to lose. On the spot, it escapes miraculously to the death and saves a young prostitute (Elle Fanning, the rising star of Hollywood seen recently in How To Talk To Girl At Parties. Together they take the road to a motel in Galveston, a low-end seaside resort on the Texas coast …

Mélanie Laurent avoids the traps of the postcard of the South of the United States, keeping her camera as close to her characters as possible. Inspired by a novel by Nic Pizzolatto considered as the new master of the Southern Gothic (showrunner of the series True Detective), the film sticks to the excessiveness of the story by turns too black, too sentimental, too violent, too melancholy … In short , even if you have trouble with Mélanie Laurent run to see Galveston. For her to stay behind the camera. Because she is very good at it.