SXSW Film Festival ’18: Elle Fanning and Ben Foster shine in ‘Galveston’, despite some minor flaws

This review is by our guest writer, Christina Huang. 


Being from Texas myself, ‘Galveston’ is a film that I have been anticipating for awhile now. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. Mélanie Laurent brings the small beach town that I have known for years to life in a beautiful way. Elle Fanning and Ben Foster are quite the duo, and the score is simply marvelous. Even though I was relatively satisfied with the quality of this film, I must say that the first twenty minutes or so were somewhat weak in terms of storytelling. Despite this, ‘Galveston’ is a solid crime thriller that is not to be missed.

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SXSW Film Festival ’18: ‘A Vigilante’ showcases the power of fighting back

This review is by our guest writer, Christina Huang.
Wow. I had no words after the screening for this was over. Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s directorial debut absolutely stuns. Olivia Wilde gives a truly phenomenal performance that showcases the hardships of leaving an abusive relationship and how we can use our suffering to help others. Although there were a few minor errors in terms of the narrative, the movie was beautiful, powerful, and most of all, eye-opening.
‘A Vigilante’ tells the story of Sadie (Olivia Wilde), a woman who rescues other women from their abusive relationships. The film opens with Sadie beating an abusive husband and forcing him into leaving his home and quitting his job. We quickly learn that Sadie herself has a tragic backstory. After she leaves her abusive husband, he comes close to killing her and completely shatters her life. Sadie attends a support group and by listening to stories from other women (played by actual domestic violence survivors), and realizes that she has to stand against this horrific abuse. She can no longer stand by and watch as other people endure the pain and misery from domestic violence.

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SXSW Film Festival ’18: ‘American Animals’ is a crime drama that echoes the struggles of discovering one’s identity

This review is by our guest writer, Christina Huang.
Ever since we were young, most of us were led to believe that we are something special, and that one day we’ll have a moment that can totally change our lives. Unfortunately, that’s not true for almost everyone. ‘American Animals’ tells the somewhat-true story of the desire to be different and to find our defining moment, and how this hunger can lead people down a path of self-destruction.

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Evan Peters, Bart Layton, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner, and Barry Keoghan in American Animals (2018). © Sundance Institute

While I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, the film focuses on a group of young men, led by Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) and Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan), who want to steal extremely valuable books from their school library. Their motivation behind the robbery is to finally have that moment that will change their lives forever. They believe that in order to not be ordinary, they must take matters into their own hands, instead of waiting for a life-changing opportunity to come along. Warren and Spencer’s identity crisis slowly leads them into a downward spiral as they ascend deeper and deeper into their scheme. They end up dragging Chas Allen (Blake Jenner) and Eric Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) into the conspiracy, bringing them down as well. Although the boys are aware that the robbery that they have planned is wrong, they believe that if they continue living their mundane lives in Kentucky, they will never live up to the image of success that has been embedded into their minds.

Continue reading “SXSW Film Festival ’18: ‘American Animals’ is a crime drama that echoes the struggles of discovering one’s identity”