Saturday, May 05, 2007

Way Overdue Movie Review: Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan

DVD Release Date: Not Yet Announced (as of early May)

In Brief: What's Good

  • Excellent performances, including a daring and challenging performance by Christina Ricci.

  • Fairly original concept & story.

In Brief: What's Not So Good

  • The story gets a little wayward toward the end and wraps up a little too conveniently.

Warning: This is a very adult movie. Not recommended for young viewers.

B- Story
A- Acting
B Directing
C+ Visuals

Christina Ricci plays Rae, the epitome of southern, uneducated, chain-smoking "white trash." Deeply in love with her boyfriend who is off to re-join the military but also so obsessed with sex that she can't stay faithful while he's gone, Rae finds herself in a physically threatening situation.

Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, an old ex-blues singer whose wife has just left him for another man. He discovers Rae and nurses her back to health. Realizing her obsessions but not willing to succumb to her temptations, Lazarus chains Rae to his radiator and tries to get her to change her evil ways.

This movie is as racy as it is intriguing but just barely escapes being creepy, raunchy, or cringe-worthy. Lazarus is a God-fearing man, and despite his faults and his unorthodox methods, he cares for Rae and sees it as his mission to help her. The movie handles the relationship between Lazarus and Rae in a strange way, but it moves toward being helpful to both.

Rae's problems aren't totally her fault. Victim to childhood abuse and an uncaring mother, she's, well, messed up. Her boyfriend, played by Justin Timberlake, is fighting some internal demons of his own. All three main characters must face their difficulties and reach a new understanding and acceptance of their situations.

The best things about this movie are its originality, daring nature, excellent performances, and interesting character development. Of course, the publicity for this movie focuses on Christina Ricci in drastically skimpy clothing and heavy chains. Granted, that's an important element of the movie, but there's much more to it than that. There's an actual story here. It's unique, sometimes bizarre, sometimes shocking, and unfortunately, wraps up a little too conveniently. But, it's worth a viewing for the interesting ride it takes from where it begins to how it ends up.

Fun Facts from Wikipedia

The title of the film comes from a 1927 Blind Lemon Jefferson song. During production, Christina Ricci ate only food items that lacked nutritional value to give herself an unhealthy appearance in the film.

Fun Facts from Internet Movie Database

Christina Ricci wore a real, 40-pound chain for much of the filming. Some of the clothing worn by Ricci in the movie came from her own wardrobe or were bought by her, just for the movie, at a department store.

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