Directed by Anna Förster.
Starring Allison Janney, Jurnee Smollett, Logan Marshall-Green, Ridley Asha Bateman, Greyston Holt, Matt Craven, Toby Levins, Marci T. House and Jaycie Dotin.
A storm is raging. A young girl is kidnapped. Her mother teams up with the mysterious woman next door to track down the kidnapper, a journey that will test her limits and uncover shocking secrets from her past.
Add Allison Janney to the growing list of older but capable action stars. A directorial debut by Anna Foerster, based on a story by Maggie Cohn, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Stanley, Lou begins with the eponymous older woman writing a suicide note full of regrets while leaving some money for an unknown character. With a cocked and loaded shotgun pressed against her temple, the filmmakers rewind to that morning that follows Lou and the remote island town as they prepare for an imminent catastrophic storm (one that will wreak havoc on everyone in and out will paralyze outgoing means of transport.
The day reveals that too Lou takes place during the Reagan administration (briefly mentioned on television screens to explain the lack of modern technology once the proceedings have turned into an exciting game of cat-and-mouse), but what stands out most is Allison Janney’s cold one and steely, hard personality; She is particularly adept at tracking and hunting (in cooperation with her dog, Jax), even when conversing with a young woman and her daughter about the upcoming rent.
That woman is Hannah (Jurnee Smollett) who is trying to hide her young daughter Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman) from an abusive ex-boyfriend of a Special Forces demolitions expert (a man she still doesn’t believe for a second). that he is dead). what she is told), a complete psychopath played by Logan Marshall-Green.
For Lou’s alienating antisocial behavior and strict payment streak, there’s also a visible sense of softness and aching regret beneath that rocky exterior, and a desire to open up about something important or say something nice, but lacking the courage or ability to find the words for it to find . But once the evil man, fueled by anger, locates and kidnaps Vee, that protective instinct is triggered; Just before attempting suicide, Lou is given an admittedly clichéd chance for redemption.
You can’t deny that Lou pulls from the action film playbook and inserts a halfway absurd revelation that threatens to knock down any goodwill like an unrelenting bolt of lightning. Such familiarity, however, turns out to be mostly irrelevant given the filmmakers’ so competent and sure of execution, buoyed by engaging performances and excellent photography by Michael McDonough, who captures the harsh environmental elements (underscored by some impressive visual effects).
Instead of this, Lou works like gratification from trash, partly because the film is interested in saying something about motherhood and stubborn loner behavior with its revelations. It’s nothing deep, but it doesn’t need to be given the satisfying bombast material.
Lou is wise enough to recognize that this is Allison Janney’s show, using her survival skills and hardened combat skills to hang out with common henchmen in brutal brawls and make shrewd use of her surroundings. That’s not to say Jurnee Smollett doesn’t get a chance to impress with physicality too, as both appear to have been through hell and back on their trek through the jungle in perilous weather.
There’s a sequence with a sideways knocked wooden bridge that they have to hang from and shimmy over, showing that creative thought went into these set pieces, as does a stunningly shot melee, set against the crashing waves of a beach. It’s easy to get carried away by such thrilling action scenes, stunning photography, and a contradictory yet intense twist from Allison Janney, even when the story and revelations are goofy.
Flickering Myth Rating – Movie: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow mine Twitter or letterboxd or email me at [email protected]