Movie Review – Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan is an improbable, sometimes potentially disastrous film about sex, race, religion and redemption. While most film makers would take this unbelievable story and create nothing short of a train wreck, Director/Writer Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow) does nearly the impossible, by creating his second great film.

Black Snake Moan tells the story of Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), an older, grey haired black man in the Deep South. Down on his luck lately after losing his wife to his brother, even his guitar and blues singing no longer provides him with comfort. He has stopped attending church as he just needs time to himself. He works in a field and makes his money by selling vegetables at the local market. Upon returning to his home one day, he sees Rae (Christina Ricci) lying on the side of the dirt road. Rae is a southern white girl, who’s Boyfriend Ronnie just left her to go off to the army. As he is leaving, she drops to the ground and begins to shake. Not good at being alone, she gets “The Itch”. The itch while in this case looks very much like a heroine addiction is actually nymphomania. Half naked and beaten after a night of sex/drugs/drinking (after all her boyfriend left like 24 hours ago, so what’s a girl to do?) Lazarus finds her still alive so he takes her into his home and tends to her wounds for 3 days. During this time, she comes in and out of consciousness and goes into fits that he just can’t understand. Learning what he can about this girl from some locals, he learns that she has “the Itch” or “the Sickness” and he takes it upon himself to save her. He chains her to a radiator so that she can’t get away so that he can give her what she needs, a detoxification from sex. He plans to cure her of her sluttery. Little does he realize that he also is in need of a healing, and Rae might just be the one person to help him? pomona attractions

Black Snake Moan is a beautiful film that brings two individuals from opposite sides of life’s spectrum together to find happiness. While the film flirts with sexual tension between the two characters, the god-fearing Lazarus sticks to his guns and treats this white girl with what she has needed her whole life and that’s simply respect (aside from chaining her to a radiator of course). The relationship between Jackson and Ricci is more like that of a loving father and an out of control rebellious daughter. The two find common grounds, and begin to work through their problems together. Jackson has been quoted as saying he feels like this might be his best performance, and I would say he is correct. The same would go for Ricci. While I don’t expect either of them to get much attention come Oscar time, both should be praised for their courageous and inspiring performances.

Set against the backdrop of a small community in the Deep South, Black Snake Moan is a great film, with a great cast (aside from Justin Timberlake’s who’s performance did anything but impress). Many may feel uncomfortable with such in your face sexual tension, but by the end, very few will be able to doubt the films very real story of redemption and salvation.

 

 

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