Directed by Anna Foerster.
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 breaks out. A young woman is kidnapped. Her mother teams up with the mysterious woman next door to hunt down her kidnapper, a journey that tests her limits and exposes shocking secrets from her past.
Add Allison Janney to the growing list of older but capable action stars. A debut directorial effort from Anna Foerster, based on a story by Maggie Cohn, who wrote the screenplay with Jack Stanley, lou it opens with the old lady of the same name writing a remorseful suicide note while leaving some cash for an unknown character. With a locked and loaded shotgun pressed against his temple, the filmmakers rewind time to that morning, which follows Lou and the remote island town preparing for an impending catastrophic storm (one that will shut down all transportation going in and out).
The day also reveals that lou takes place during the Reagan administration (briefly mentioned on the TV screens to explain the lack of modern technology once the proceedings turn into an exciting game of cat and mouse), but what sticks out most is the cold, tough personality Allison Janney Steel; she is particularly adept at tracking and hunting (associating with her dog Jax), even as she converses with a young woman and her daughter about the upcoming rental.
That woman is Hannah (Jurnee Smollett), who is trying to keep her young daughter Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman) hidden from an abusive Special Forces demolitions expert ex-boyfriend (a man who doesn’t believe for a second that he’s dead, despite what he is told), a complete psychopath played by Logan Marshall-Green.
To Lou’s alienating antisocial behavior and stern pay, there’s also a visible sense of sweetness and painful remorse beneath that rocky exterior and a desire to open up about something important or say something kind, but without the courage or ability to find the words to do it. . However, once the rage-fueled evil man locates and kidnaps Vee, that protective instinct kicks in; Moments before attempting suicide, Lou has been handed an admittedly clichéd shot at redemption.
can’t deny that lou it’s pulling from the action movie playbook while also inserting an absurd reveal midway through that threatens to strike down every shred of goodwill like a relentless thunderbolt. However, such familiarity turns out to be irrelevant as the filmmakers are highly competent and confident in execution, getting a boost from committed performances and excellent photography by Michael McDonough that embraces the harsh environmental elements (touched up by some impressive visual effects).
Instead, lou it works like satisfying garbage, in part because the film is interested in trying to say something about motherhood and the lone wolf’s stubborn behavior with its revelations. It’s nothing deep, but that’s not necessary either, given the bombastic satisfying material.
lou is smart enough to realize this is the show of Allison Janney, using her survival skills and hardened combat skills to hang out with generic henchmen in brutal fights, making clever use of her surroundings. That’s not to say that Jurnee Smollett doesn’t get a chance to impress with her physique either, as they both seem to have been through hell and back during their trek through the jungle during dangerous weather.
There is a sequence involving a wooden bridge knocked to the side that they must hang and slide off of, showing some creative thinking in these scenarios, as well as an amazingly shot final melee battle against the crashing waves of a beach. It’s easy to get carried away by such exciting action scenes, stunning photography, and a confrontational yet fierce turn from Allison Janney, even if the story and revelations are silly.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]