Allison Janney might’ve kicked off her career back in 1989, but her star has only continued to rise in recent years thanks to roles like Bonnie in Mom and Margaret Scully in Masters of Sex. And now, Netflix’s Lou looks to let Janney shine in brand new ways, turning the usually comedic actress into an action hero in her own right.
Lou tells the story of Janney’s Lou, a mysterious woman who spends her days with her dog, Jax, hunting in the nearby woods and renting out a nearby property to a single mom named Hannah (Jurnee Smollett). Very little is known about Lou at first. In fact, it isn’t about until the half-hour mark that the mysterious layers of Lou begin to be unraveled. She’s a tough as nails woman who doesn’t mince her words. Outside of Jax, she seems incapable of caring about anything or anyone, but when Hannah’s daughter mysteriously disappears during a major storm, Lou steps in to help without little to no questions asked. What soon unfolds is a story of troubled pasts and how far people are willing to go to right their wrongs.
Lou is a character that, had she been written poorly, could’ve easily been one-note, but Janney excels in tackling this multi-layered character. She’s flawed and doesn’t shy away from her mistakes, but she’s also driven by guilt and love. Her actions might be unorthodox, but she always succeeds in doing what is right, no matter the cost. Janney is perfect casting and her on-screen chemistry with Smollett is fascinating. The two characters could not be more difficult from one another, and yet, the moments they share on screen are some of the best in the film. More impressive is how well the ladies work off of Logan Marshall-Green, who delivers yet another terrifying performance as the mysterious Peter. It’s such a small cast for such a massive story, and the three actors help to sell this action flick with such ease. From the emotional moments to the big action moments, Janney, Smollett and Marshall-Green are a top-notch cast that deliver a hell of a film.
It’s honestly a bit frustrating that Lou is going straight to Netflix because this is the type of film that deserves to be seen on a large screen. It’s fast-paced and action-packed, and will surely keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Yet, despite the film being a blast, the cinematography in Lou is hit or miss. More often than not, it leaves something to be desired. While the island is meant to be dreary and dull, the imagery doesn’t always match the tone of what is occurring onscreen. Thankfully, this is a very minor problem and during the action sequences, the fights are shot with a skilled eye which makes them more enjoyable.
Honestly, the only bad thing about Lou is the film’s name. It’s not really memorable, nor does it really offer much intrigue for those unsure whether to give the film a chance. It’s all the more frustrating because this is clearly meant to be the start of a potential franchise. Lou isn’t a catchy name compared to the likes of John Wick or even Atomic Blonde.
All in all, Lou is a thrilling action movie that is worthy of a watch.