Lou Review – Allison Janney gets her Taken, but leaves us wanting

Tthe big takeover of actors over 55, from playing a father to playing a father who is also a retired hit man, was a boon for Neeson, the Odenkirks and Costner, but less so for their female counterparts, passed from mother to mother, who also is married to a retired hitman. Things look like this lightly improvement this year with more women of a similar age being allowed into the action genre that has traditionally left them unarmed, with Michelle Yeoh and Viola Davis battling it out at the box office (before Jamie Lee Curtis returns to “end” Michael Myers next month), and now, inevitably, Netflix is ​​leading the way with a more conventional vehicle, this time for Oscar winner Allison Janney.

If only it wasn’t called Lou, a terribly stupid title that’s hard to say out loud with any vague sense of excitement (just try – Lou, Lou, Lou). Unfortunately, it’s also hard to watch while feeling any vague sense of excitement or any sense of anything, really a film that works best as an exciting concept – Allison Janney is doing Taken – than the real thing.

Gianni plays You’ve Got It Lou, a gruff, self-sufficient loner living or existing in the woods, haunted by something or someone, a deliberately simple life until one night things get complicated during a particularly dramatic storm. Her next-door neighbor’s daughter, Hannah (Journey Smollett), is, we get it, takenand she needs Lou’s help to find her.

Who is Lou? What is Lou? But most importantly, why is it lou? I have no idea after an intermittently distracting but mostly unremarkable 107 minutes, a film unworthy of both Gianni’s talent and our attention. Lou briefly teases us that this is really about something, before pulling the veil from our eyes, throwing up her hands and shrugging. The film was originally set up at Paramount with JJ Abrams producing, a not-so-impressive origin story considering most of the crap floating around on Netflix, but why this script got so much attention is perhaps the film’s biggest mystery .

Originally described as Thelma and Louise meet Taken, Lou is a bit like Sleeping with the Enemy meets Rambo meets Taken, but unfortunately it’s nowhere near as fun as it sounds. The missing child is snapped up by an abusive ex, played with soapy menace that quickly fizzles to nothing by Logan Marshall-Green, and the initial storm-chasing scenes forcing the women to fight together are effectively engaging. Director Anna Foerster, whose TV credits include genres like Outlander and Westworld, knows how to set up action and set mood (basic-level competence still counts for a lot in the netherworld of streaming), and when Maggie Cohn and Jack Stanley’s screenplay gets things going sorry, there’s just as much simple fun. Janie, as always, is a true pro and her jaded cynicism, used mostly for comedic effect, makes her a believably haunted anti-hero, and Lou allows for some quieter, heavier moments that her other work doesn’t always allow her.

But there’s a boring, derailing twist that complicates and confuses, turning what could have been a tight little chase movie into something much bigger and much harder to plug into. It shapes the film into a melodrama and takes us further away from the action, a misguided attempt to replace adrenaline with emotion. Janie sells it regardless, but by the end she’s literally and figuratively walking wounded. Lou’s very existence may be a step in the right direction for women over 50 in action movies, but it’s a misstep everywhere else.

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