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Review: Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan
02.27.2007
8 10

A retired blues musician named Lazarus is trying to cope with life which incidentally reflects a blues song. He's down on life, afraid of God and his wife just left him for his younger brother. Then one day, Rae, the town sperm depository, or should I say, the town tramp is left for dead next to his house. The two begin to form an unexpected relationship where Lazarus feels he can "cure her" of the wickedness within her...starting by chaining her up to his house.

Another great movie to start the year! This movie is the perfect example of how you don't need a huge budget to make a great film. A solid script with good acting can go a long way! BLACK SNAKE MOAN delivers an original story that doesn't try to leave you with a message or a moral. It's just a simple story about two people whose lives are pretty messed up and we, the audience, get an intimate portrayal of this relationship.

Samuel Jackson, who plays Lazarus, is particularly phenomenal. He brought this intensity of a broken man who was then able to climb out of this dark hole called "life". Watching this transition was seamless and it goes to show you that this guy doesn't have to be a hitman or a jedi to be cool. I especially loved the little details of his character -- keep a sharp eye out for his fingernails and how they're worn down.

Christina Ricci, who plays Rae, was also exceptional as the sexually addicted girl. She really pushed the boundaries of acting and reminded me a lot of a young Jodie Foster from THE ACCUSED. Her relationships with Jackson and Justin Timberlake (who was also good, by the way) were believable and sad to watch. I mean "sad" in the emotional sense. Being half-naked for practically most of the film takes a lot of courage for a young actress. She played this type of character so well, she will certainly set a new standard for herself when it comes to her choices of acting gigs in the future. It's too bad they didn't release this movie in December as I'm pretty confident she would have been nominated at the Oscars for her role. Keep your fingers crossed and hope that they don't forget her next year.

As for the director Craig Brewer, well, he does it again! I loved HUSTLE AND FLOW and now BLACK SNAKE MOAN cements the fact that Brewer is a great director and storyteller. The film had some really raw moments (the football scene) that were intense and uncomfortable to watch, while at the same time he was able to deliver the perfect level of tenderness and affection (the bathtub scene between Rae and Lazarus). I liked the fact that you really couldn't relate to any of the broken characters, but you were still able to feel for them. Lastly, if you like the blues, the musical score will blow you away. Deep chords mixed with these locusts sounds set the mood for each scene.

This was a unique film with an original story and great acting. In addition, I really appreciated its marketing campaign, loved its website, as well as its one-sheets and other marketing goodies. They captured the essence of the film perfectly and I can't wait to see Brewer's next creation.

Alpha Dog (4/10) Blood & Chocolate (4/10) Breach (5/10) Catch and Release (5/10) Deja Vu (6/10) Eragon (4/10) Factory Girl (7/10) Grudge 2 (5/10) Harsh Times (7/10) Letters From Iwo Jima (7/10) Music and Lyrics (6/10) Norbit (6/10) The Departed (9/10) The Good German (7/10) The Good Shepherd (7/10) The Prestige (8/10) The Pursuit of Happyness (6/10)

-- by Tim Goernert

Source: JoBlo.com

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