‘Lou’ Will Lose Viewers In Drab Pace

I like Allison Janney. What’s not to like about her? She’s one of the most versatile actors we have working now. I don’t like Lou, her latest movie currently streaming on Netflix where she falls into the badassery cinema world that Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver helped pioneer but falls short of being as memorable as Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley.

Janney is proof there is no such thing as small roles. In the late 1990s, she appeared in several roles that showcased her talents. As one of Howard Stern’s supervisor in Private Parts, she didn’t mind coming off as unlikeable as she constantly criticized his on-air persona. As a ditzy high school principal in Primary Colors, she played the part of a typical bureaucrat perfectly. Then, there was her role as hip, swinging socialite who encouraged New England 40-somethings to engage in a key party at a 1970s party in The Ice Storm. And then there was her role as a Marine’s wife in American Beauty where she hardly ever spoke but her meek, timid body language told more than her words could.

There were several other roles before she burst out on The West Wing but it show she had the talent to not be typecast. And then there’s her Oscar-winning role as LaVonna Golden in I, Tonya where she played the chain-smoking, brutal, overbearing mother of Tonya Harding. She was no way a likeable person, but she was very memorable in the role and a method to how Harding would be involved in what happened.

In Lou, she plays Lou Adell, a cold, cynical loner middle-aged woman who lives on a rural island in the Pacific Northwest (which means the production team got a nice Canadian tax incentive for filming in British Columbia). Lou’s only companion is her dog, Jax. She rents out a home nearby to a single mother, Hannah Dawson (Jurnee Smollett) and her young daughter, Vee (Ridley Bateman). But she seems to have a hostile relationship with them. When she comes close to running over Vee, she doesn’t apologize to Hannah, but acts more like Vee should be more careful in the future.

Set in the later 1980s around the time of the Iran-Contra Affair, a storm is heading for the area. Lou goes to the bank and withdraws all her money and then goes home to write a will to an unnamed person. She is planning on killing herself. But her attempt is interrupted when Hannah burst in saying that Vee has been kidnapped from her estranged father, Phillip (Logan Marshall-Green). A bomb is planted in Lou’s truck blowing it up and Chris (Greyston Holt), a friend of Hannah’s, has been killed in his van down the road.

Hannah has thought Phillip, a former special forces soldier, has been killed in action. But as the storm continues to pummel the area, Lou and Hannah follow Phillip and Vee into the wilderness. What seems like it should be a great cat and mouse movie abruptly stops after Lou shows some of Phillip’s friends she isn’t some old country woman. It appears it’s going to be this way throughout the movie, but that’s not the case.

What we get is just a boringly paced movie as Lou and Hannah follow Phillip and Vee to the shores and then there’s a twist coming that really doesn’t make sense and seems like a letdown. The twist comes too early in the movie and the logic behind it doesn’t even make a lot of sense. All I’m going to say is Lou is a former CIA agent and has some connection to the Iran-Contra Affair. Also, its revealed she’s connected closer to Hannah and Vee more than being their landlord.

The movie wastes the opportunity to have Janney playing a retired CIA agent who still can kick some butt. It also doesn’t help that Phillip, who is supposed to be a special forces soliders, just comes off as just some creep ex-husband. Maybe it’s because of the film’s budget they weren’t able to hire any more actors but since we can already know that he’s not going to be a threat to Vee, Hannah or even Lou, there’s really nothing much to him.

Part of the problem is there’s too many scenes of the characters sitting down to rest and talking too long. There’s never really any feeling that one setback might hurt their chances of finding Phillip and Vee. And this is mainly because of the twist that is coming up that never really feels like it’s earned.

The first half of the movie has a lot of build-up and excitement only to just reduce the plot to people walking through the woods. It reminds me of the criticism that Randall had of The Lord of the Rings movies in Clerks II as it’s just a movie about people walking. If you like seeing people walk in the rain through the woods of British Columbia, this movie is for you.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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