Where I Watched It: Netflix
English Audio Description Provided By: Descriptive Video Works
Sometimes, I really enjoy the fact that I don’t watch trailers (since they rarely have audio description). That was I can be surprised by something like Lou, where I just launch Netflix and see “from producer JJ Abrams”, and that’s really all I needed to know.
What I checked in for is one of those “particular set of skills” films that (Thank God) does not star Liam Neeson. Instead, for something completely different, we’ve got Allison Janney ready to kick someone’s face in. And if you aren’t down to see CJ Craig in a knife fight, what kind of life do you even live?
When we are first introduced to the title character of Lou (yes, Janney), she’s a somewhat reclusive hard worn woman of a certain age, who hunts, has a very interesting back and forth with the local Sheriff (Matt Craven in a thankless role), and loves the shit out of her incredibly well trained dog. She has tenants, a young mother (Jurnee Smollett) and her little girl. in some random foreshadowing, when her daughter asks where daddy is, her mom says he’s treasure hunting, something that’s obvious bullshit when said. She has a very tenuous relationship with Lou, who almost hits the little girl with her car.
Nevertheless, after daddy (Logan Marshall green) shows up and kidnaps his daughter, she has no choice but to turn to the only other person who seems to know she’s alive… Lou. It’s in this moment that we also learn Lou was moments from suicide, so retrieving this little girl has given her purpose, though she still has a devil may care reckless abandon to her character where death does not strike fear. The rest of the film is basically a lot of walking through teh woods, tracking, and occasionally fighting. There is a nice third act element that puts this whole movie in a different perspective, especially as Lou’s backstory is slowly revealed, and it makes for a far more complex film than you thought you signed up for.
Lou is a smart and tight action film that is paced well, has a terrific lead performance from Allison Janney, and manages to make itself different from the films it is clearly inspired. however, despite the fact that he’s been good in other things, Logan Marshall Green is not great here. he doesn’t really know what to do with his role, which you could chalk up to a combination of script, direction, and action. he has to be believable enough to be nice to his daughter, but also menacing enough to be dangerous. He fails at both. He’s neither menacing, nor does he seem genuinely interested in the possibility of raising this little girl. Hell, even Crisp in Kindergarten Cop came across as genuinely interested in raising his son. This film has a worse villain than Kindergarten Cop. let that sink in.
I still enjoyed the hell out of this film, and the audio description did a good job of making sure we were right there in the woods, absorbing this experience. It highlights all the clues you need to figure things out, while complimenting the actors choices. ultimately, this film succeeds for two reasons. Janney, and her backstory. That’s what elevates Lou, and why I’m very happy I saw it, despite Green’s role/performance.
Give Lou a chance. i had no idea it existed, and I’ve sat through far too many Liam Neeson films laid out like this, and yet this still impressed me.
Final Grade: A-