Lou is a horrendously dull and lazy mixture of cliches strung together from better films of the genre.
This review of the Netflix film Lou (2022) does not contain spoilers.
I have now lived long enough to see a film where the Golden Girls can kick some ass and takes names later while their victims cry before their lives end at any moment. That’s the kind of film experience you get from Lou. This is an action film starring the six-foot and 62-year-old Allison Janney, one where Netflix tries to make a discount version of Bob Odenkirk’s Nobody. Despite Janney’s admirable turn, Lou doesn’t have the bone-crunching or lip-splitting but lacks the humility and self-deprecation of an unassuming killer hiding in plain sight.
Lou stars Janney as the titular character living a quiet and stoic life in the pacific northwest. Lou is brutal and uncompromising. A hunter and tracker, she ignores the local sheriff’s (Matt Craven) obvious laws about hunting season. She rents out another property she owns next door. That person is a single parent, Hannah (Jurnee Smollett). She has a small child, Vee (Ridley Ashlee Bateman). That doesn’t offer her any goodwill with Lou.
The statuesque and weathered Lou demands that Hannah pay the rent on time, even if the worst storm in a century is about to come down hard upon them. That’s fine until Hannah’s supposed dead husband Philip (Logan Marshall-Green) shows up to kidnap Vee in the middle of the storm. With the power out and the phone lines down, Lou and Hannah track Philip into the lush greens of the pacific northwest to get Vee back.
Anna Foerster directed Lou. She is reportedly working on Source Code 2, and now I have severe doubts about the quality of the cult classic’s sequel. Working from a script from Maggie Cohn (Narcos: Mexico) and Jack Stanley (Shell), this action thriller is a horrendously dull mixture of cliches strung together from better films. The script plays more like a storyboard than a completed work. We never fully understand the actions behind some plot twists and surprises offered here that are explained briefly. This fails to establish a psychological component the film had its sights on.
The wonderful Janney is an interesting choice for an action hero. However, there is such a lack of urgency in her performance that I was taken aback by her Alex Honnold-like coolness under pressure. And considering the twist that takes place, you should consider the stakes are higher than previously thought. The audience isn’t in on it, but Lou certainly is. It’s simply incongruent with the actions happening around her. To highlight that fault, you have subplots, like Philip’s backstory and Lou’s secret, that could have brought more intrigue and fun to the action experience.
Lou has a tone and individualism that is all the rage nowadays. For instance, Philip rocks it out to the robust melodies of Toto any chance he gets. He even had his daughter listen while he chose to crush a butterfly in his bare hands. And as much as I loved seeing Janney’s Lou kick the ass and making Daniel Bernhardt cry — he played the titular character in the Barry episode “Ronny/Lilly” that remains one of the most significant episodes of television ever produced — Lou is a lazy and generic action thriller that sleepwalks through its nearly 110 minutes.
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