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4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Galveston shines with Foster's and Fanning's performances despite technical and distribution challenges.

    Galveston 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Galveston's Ultra HD Blu-ray impresses with deep blacks and HDR, but its excessive darkness obscures details, questioning stylistic choices versus technical limitations.

  • Audio
  • Galveston's DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio lacks 3D HD tracks like Atmos but impressively supports the drama with clear dialogue, potent environmental effects, and a moody score, ensuring an engaging auditory experience despite its limitations.

  • Extra
  • The extras, including a 20-minute Making-of Featurette and a 17-minute making-of with strong interviews, along with unaltered images, are present in both Blu-ray and UHD formats, reflecting RLJ's standard practice of including the same extras on both discs.

  • Movie
  • Mélanie Laurent's Galveston melds dark, noir elements with a poignant road story, showcasing stark performances amidst a tale of crime, redemption, and survival.

    Video: 75

    Galveston's 4K UHD Blu-ray release, courting audiences with its RLJ Entertainment label, presents a visual enigma that skillfully borders the line between captivating beauty and excessive darkness. The presentation utilizes a native 3840 x 2160p resolution, adhering to the original widescreen 2.4:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Enhanced with 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec, the technical aspects of this release are commendable. Despite being presumably up-converted from a 2K source, the detail in well-lit scenes mirrors that of its standard Blu-ray counterpart, though any potential enhancement is lost in darker scenes where HDR's accentuated gloom takes precedence.

    The application of HDR and WCG is both a technical triumph and a narrative hindrance. On one hand, it delivers unparalleled depth to blacks and maintains texture integrity in facial close-ups and natural settings, showcasing the night sky or dimly lit bar scenes with impressive clarity. However, the excessive darkness often overwhelms, undermining scene visibility to the point of confusion, particularly in critical action sequences. This stylistic choice, while ambitious, occasionally detracts from the storytelling, rendering some moments impossibly dark and impacting the overall clarity of the narrative progression.

    Color reproduction on this disc stands out despite the overarching darkness, with vibrant primaries cutting through the gloom and skin tones appearing naturally warm. Nevertheless, the ambition for definitive black levels has its pitfalls, contributing to a visual experience where detail is frequently engulfed by shadows, undermining potential details offered by the 4K resolution. This divergence from the standard Blu-ray's presentation suggests a deliberate but contentious creative decision that may not resonate with all viewers, highlighting a stark contrast in visual storytelling between formats.

    Audio: 80

    The audio track of the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Galveston" might not feature the cutting-edge Atmos or DTS:X codecs, but it nonetheless presents a compelling auditory experience with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 setup. This choice should not be viewed as a setback; given the film's niche appeal, the very fact of its 4K incarnation is commendable. The mix skilfully utilizes its resources to create an immersive backdrop that does justice to the film's gritty atmosphere and narrative intensity. Dialogue is a focal point, consistently clear and well-defined throughout the cinematic journey. The absence of a higher dimensional audio track hardly detracts from the ambiance, which is richly layered and thoroughly engaging, effectively drawing viewers into the ominous world of "Galveston."

    The environmental sounds and effects are particularly noteworthy for their dynamic range and realism, bringing scenes to vivid life—from the eeriness of desolate back-alleys to the palpable tension inside a textile plant. Gunshots deliver an impactful punch with substantial LFE support, anchoring the film’s sudden bursts of action with a visceral intensity. While the score underscores the narrative's darker themes, eclectic tracks from bar jukeboxes provide occasional, lighter aural textures, contributing to a sound mix that is versatile and mood-enhancing.

    Despite a standard 5.1 approach, the audio engineers have adeptly woven ambiance into this dialogue-driven drama, utilizing both front and rear sound stages to envelop the viewer. Particularly impressive are the naturalistic soundscapes during key scenes, such as the turmoil of an approaching hurricane, where winds and rain are rendered with remarkable clarity and presence. While LFE usage is selective—primarily bolstering the musical score rather than constant engagement—it contributes effectively when called upon, rounding out a technically proficient and emotionally resonant audio presentation.

    Extra: 65

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Galveston" notably includes a commendably detailed and engrossing 20-minute Making-of Featurette, which provides an insightful peek behind the curtain of the film's production. This featurette stands out by offering in-depth interviews and discussions on key aspects such as casting, characters, and behind-the-scenes decision-making, enriching the viewer's understanding and appreciation of the film. Additionally, the inclusion of both the UHD and standard Blu-ray discs ensures that viewers have access to these extras in 1080p as well, aligning with RLJ's standard practice. This approach offers a nice bonus for collectors and fans of the film alike, granting them a comprehensive package that enhances the viewing experience. The disc setup, starting with previews upon startup, follows a straightforward yet effective layout that although minimal, manages to deliver value through its carefully selected content.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Making-of Featurette: An insightful exploration into the making of "Galveston," featuring in-depth interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses.

    Movie: 70

    Mélanie Laurent, renowned for her French cinematic endeavors and a memorable stint in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," makes an impressive English language directorial debut with "Galveston," bringing Nic Pizzolatto's narrative to the screen. The film, adapted from Pizzolatto's novel, diverges from its original blueprint under Laurent's guidance, weaving a rich tapestry of noir and character-driven drama. It follows the intertwined fates of a disillusioned mob enforcer, played with gritty realism by Ben Foster, and Elle Fanning's portrayal of a teenage prostitute, each grappling with their demons and past transgressions. This unlikely trio embarks on a flight from retribution that is as much about physical survival as it is an exploration of redemption, identity, and the possibility of second chances amidst a backdrop of crime and desperation.

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Galveston" particularizes Laurent's vision through enhanced visuals that accentuate the stark contrasts and subdued hues of the film's setting, offering a visceral viewing experience that reflects the narrative's grim reality. Despite RLJ Entertainment's foray into 4K releases being met with mixed results in the past, "Galveston" stands out for its notable upgrade in image quality. However, the darker visuals sometimes challenge the clarity, mirroring the film's thematic undertones of dim prospects and obscured paths to salvation.

    "Galveston" melds the bleakness of its story with performances that bring depth and nuance to the forefront. Foster and Fanning deliver career-defining roles, captivating the audience with their portrayal of flawed individuals seeking a semblance of peace in a ruthless world. Laurent's direction eschews conventional genre boundaries, opting for a raw and unfiltered look into the lives of society's outcasts. The film succeeds in marrying the elements of a road movie with a poignant drama that contemplates the fragility of human connections against a landscape marred by violence and loss.

    Total: 65

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Galveston" delivers a package that offers viewers a remarkable visual and auditory experience, predominantly backed by the compelling performances of Ben Foster and Elle Fanning. Foster, known for his scene-stealing capabilities in a range of films from "Lone Survivor" to "Hell or High Water," once again proves his mettle as a leading man capable of carrying a film's emotional weight. His undeniable chemistry with the equally impressive Elle Fanning enhances the overall impact of the narrative, even in moments when the pacing seems to lag. Laurent's direction and the duo's acting prowess ensure that "Galveston," despite its underwhelming box office presence, shines on the 4K format.

    On the technical front, the 4K release of "Galveston" features excellent video quality, superb audio, and illuminates some aspects of the production process for enthusiasts. However, while the enhancement in resolution and the use of HDR might normally be a cause for celebration, there's a caveat: the application of HDR has been critiqued for potentially undermining the film's narrative coherence. The original creative choices in cinematography, exacerbated by an overzealous HDR color grading, could distract viewers and detract from the storytelling, leading some to question the wisdom of opting for this format over standard Blu-ray, especially with only a nominal price difference.

    In conclusion, while "Galveston" boasts remarkable performances from its lead actors and a solid directorial effort, the 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation is not without its flaws. Technical enthusiasts and fans of Foster and Fanning may find value in this release for its behind-the-scenes insights and superior video quality. Nonetheless, potential buyers should weigh the benefits of enhanced visuals against the possibility that these same enhancements may sometimes obscure the film's narrative integrity.