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September 24, 2007 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan is one wicked movie. It’s not often that you come across a movie which is so specific to its context that it simply could not have happened anywhere else. Movies like this tend to either suck you in completely or come off as totally irrelevant. Black Snake, as you might have guessed, positively oozes American deep South and blues. The plot is similarly off the hook; Christina Ricci’s marine boyfriend (Justin Timberlake – now I will admit to being a fan of his ever since his ‘N Sync days, but I know people who hate JT and still rate his performance in the film) goes off to fight in Iraq, but being a bit of a nympho she certainly, to put it euphemistically, gets around soon after his departure. Samuel L Jackson plays a blues guitarist whose wife has just left him for his brother. He comes across the passed-out, beaten-up Ricci on a road near his house and takes it upon himself (as a good Christian) to cure her of her weakness. His methods are somewhat unorthodox – they involve a padlock and a thirty foot chain. There are several great moments in Black Snake, my favourite being Jackson bellowing at Ricci to “get back in the house”. The music is also worth mentioning: I’m not much of a blues fan but the long scenes in the smoky basement bars are quite hypnotic in places. And although at first the film came off as a little slow, it soon became apparent that the slower pace reflects the languid torpor of the South, which has its own particular blend of bourbon, Christianity and rednecks. The acting is awesome, and Samuel L’s guitar is frighteningly good. I totally recommend Black Snake; its simultaneously sympathetic and scary portrait of the South, coupled with a unique plot make it unlike any other film you are likely to see this year.



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  1. Dave Elborn says:

    The script writers of this movie pushed some boundarys and displayed fresh thinking and innovation.The storyline in theory should not have worked but it does,beautifully.
    So what is it about a friend asked[she is unlikely to go and see it]
    Well its about an attractive scantily clad blonde femme fatale who is captured and chained up by a seemingly red blooded black guy and sexual intercourse did not take place.
    The look on her face was in the words of the marketeers of the worlds worse beer one of YEA RIGHT! Liike ‘I did not have sexual relations with that women’ or ‘there are no homersexual people in Iran’ or maybe even ‘George Bush had a great time at the recent opec conference in Austria’ [what by himself?]
    But the story line works.
    Ah the delicious irony of this situation and the symbolic role reversal justaposition to slavery was indicitive of the enigmatic nature of this movie.
    This movie bravely embraced several sensitive some might say[but not me]sacred issues to various degrees including:
    Love,violence,war,human nature,nymphomania,incest,slavery,alcoholism,racism,infidlity,drug taking,religion,bondage,the loss of viriginity,hatred,macho behaviour,and human kindness and forgivefulness.
    You could be forgiven for thinking that the movie must have a convoluted sorry line that goes nowhere because it tries to cover too many things.On the contrary it adds to the movies charm and provides a rich tapestry for the audience.In short it works.
    It does beg the question what is the moral of the story.Is it ‘If you have a nymphomaniac girlfriend do not go away and leave her on her own for any length of time’ or maybe ‘its okay to be chained up by a black guy if you are a sexy blond.’ [do not try this at home] or perhaps ‘dont go to war if you want to remain sane and not have reoccuring flash backs’ or even ‘it is possible to show kindness to a fellow human without expecting a quid pro quo’ maybe all of the above?
    I thought it was also ambitious to set the movie in a small rural town in the deep south as opposed to a large city where the issues covered would be more prevalent and therefore give more credibility to the plot.It did however work to the credit of the script writer
    Because it was set in the deep south it was inevitable music and in particular blues would play a big part in the the movie.I have to confess that the blues is not my favorite genre but confess to dallying albeit briefly with the likes of Leadbelly,John Lee Hooker and B.B.King.Also my favorite U.S. city just happens to be New Orleans and my favorite street Bourbon Street.[I think I was more upset than G.W.B when it flooded].The music worked just fine.
    The acting was excellent particularily the 2 leads.I thought the actor who played Ricci was marginally better than the black guy but only because it was a more difficult role to play.The guy who played Riccis boy friend was good in the role as the archetypal soldier.However I cannot imagine him in another role and there is a danger of him being type casted.I maybe wrong.
    Overall an excellent movie
    Rating ****

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