Sometimes a movie rises with the most unexpected elements, lifting it above mediocrity and convention because one person dared to think differently. action thriller louwhich arrives on Netflix on September 23, has an ace up its sleeve.
At first glance, this Netflix and Bad Robot co-production only appears to feature two committed performances from Jurnee Smollett (lovecraft country) and Allison Janney (me, tony) supporting it. In the title role, Janney is tough as nails, gloomy as the grave, and attached to no one except her mangy dog Jacks of hers. In the other corner sits Smollett’s Hannah, bearing the scars of domestic abuse and bitterly grieving her late husband Phillip (Logan Marshall-Green).
Produced by Hannah Minghella and JJ Abrams, among others, lou it leans toward storm-force winds and torrential rain for the atmosphere. This rail-thin veteran is hiding some long-lost secrets from her that forced her to isolate herself from her, stole her happiness from her, and embittered this older woman to the rest of the world. With an opening involving a suspended tarp, incinerated government documents, and suicidal intent, lou might not be for everyone.
Fortunately, after a brief preamble to establish Hannah and her daughter as gracious members of this small community, the film quickly gathers momentum as night falls. Consumed by another storm of gargantuan proportions, the lights go out, danger strikes, and Lou turns the tracker in search of Hannah’s missing daughter.
From then on, this Netflix movie hits the gas and rarely stops. Giving Smollett and Janney time to bond through treacherous terrain, while Marshall-Green stays one step ahead. There’s no denying that this Oscar winner and Emmy nominee casts himself in the role as Lou rampages through hired hitmen and Hannah toughens up, banishing her house demons in the process.
Knee-deep in mudflats, wading through swamps, and scaling mountain ridges are all part of the deal. Staying in tune with Hannah’s Green Beret ex-husband, they both progress emotionally and physically throughout the story. War stories are exchanged, trail wounds are tended to, and both women experience epiphanies before lou comes to an end.
However, one element that constantly injects an adrenaline rush through this film’s breastplate comes from Nima Fakhrara. The composer decided to take a road less traveled when composing the film, giving lou an essentially unique soundscape. His contribution here can never be underestimated, as he manages to heighten the atmosphere without falling into cliché.
Employing a combination of choral voices, distorted percussion instruments and traditional orchestral interludes, Fakhrara offers lou an off the charts vibe that changes the game. Rarely does a score work so seamlessly in conjunction with sound design to communicate character emotion or create specific atmospheres. In many ways, without that crucial element, even the presence of these two female leads in devastating fashion would have struggled to elevate the material.
that’s not saying that lou It’s a bad movie, not at all. Every piece of this film is perfectly polished, insightfully executed, and sincerely delivered. Yet despite all that, there’s no escaping the fact that audiences will have seen this many times before elsewhere. One-woman armies in movies like Salt either Atomic Blonde have tackled a similar character, while Linda Hamilton’s gray-haired Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate is the most obvious recent comparison to make.
Again, this in no way takes anything away from Janney, who literally pulls no punches when it comes to inhabiting the physicality of the role. Battle-scarred and army-weary, Lou is a remnant of another time, unable to escape the decisions he has made. In Hannah, he sees a chance at redemption and absolution in his final days.
Unfortunately, all of both actors’ efforts to elevate this film through strong performances come undone in a transparent final act. Secrets are revealed, connections are discovered, and the public will be disappointed. lou leans unabashedly towards the formula. Clashes ensue, recriminations abound, and everything ends up riddled with predictability.
So much so, that the only truly memorable element of lou That devastating score remains. A bold and brazen exercise in experimentation, earning this survival thriller an additional star all on its own.