Saturday 7 January 2023

Movie Review: Lou (2022)

Genre: Action Thriller
Director: Anna Foerster
Starring: Allison Janney, Jurnee Smollett, Logan Marshall-Green
Running Time: 109 minutes

Synopsis: On secluded Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, ex-CIA agent Lou Adell (Allison Janney) gets ready to end her life with a shotgun. But she is interrupted by her frantic tenant Hannah (Jurnee Smollett), whose young daughter Vee has just been kidnapped by Hannah's estranged and violent ex-husband Philip (Logan Marshall-Green). Lou and Hannah team-up to track down Philip and Vee during a winter storm, a dangerous journey that will reveal unexpected secrets.

What Works Well: J.J. Abrams co-produced this uncompromising thriller, and Anna Foerster embraces an existential survival-of-the-fittest ethos. The rain soaked Pacific Northwest aesthetic adds grim tones to a gritty story of a family conflict descending into the abyss. Allison Janney is an authoritative presence as an ex-CIA agent finally succumbing to debilitating arthritis and a lifetime of secrets. The chase is punctuated by brutality and narrative twists, not entirely unexpected but nevertheless welcome.

What Does Not Work As Well: The backstory stitching the characters together is perfunctory, especially given the generous length. Even allowing for cinematic licence, the physical abuse some the characters endure only to come back for more punishment is quite extreme. The villain suffers from a remarkable ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, all in service of the script.

Conclusion: Without carving any new forest paths, the setting and characters earn what they forage.

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