Film Review: ‘Galveston’

Let’s say you come across gritty desperadoes-on-the-run thriller “Galveston,” maybe flipping channels or because you decided to take a gamble and buy the Ben Foster-Elle Fanning drama on-demand. Watching the tough, Gulf of Mexico road movie unfold — burning slow and even from Louisiana to its title Texas destination like a lit cigarette in a dead man’s hand — you’d never guess who directed it.
Adapted from a novel by “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto, the movie is a muscular slice of Southern noir, fashioned in the mode of such downbeat ’70s crime classics as “Night Moves” and “The Drowning Pool,” where characters you like wind up dead, and evil isn’t necessarily punished in the end. That’s a style that has appealed to the manliest of male directors over the years, and one whose regional authenticity tends to rely on native-born filmmakers, so it may surprise you to learn that this one is the handiwork of French actress-cum-helmer Mélanie Laurent.