Rated R for strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use.
Written & Directed by: Craig Brewer
Staring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Justin Timberlake
I ain’t gonn’ be moved on this. Right or wrong, you gonn’ mind me. Like Jesus Christ said, “Imma suffa’ you. IMMA SUFFA’ YOU!” Get yo ass back in my house! -Lazarus
In the deep south of Mississippi a former blues musician named Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) has been left by his wife for another man, and is stuck on his farm all alone. One morning he picks up his mail to find a half naked white girl, nearly beaten to death. What he doesn’t know is she is the neighborhood whore. Rae isn’t an evil girl, it’s her way of dealing with a life of sexual abuse from her father, while her mother ignored it and did her own abuse in the verbal style.
Lazarus feels God has sent her to him to heal her of her evil and free her spirit. After he speaks with his reverend he frees her and becomes a safe and trusting father figure, and does help Rae move on. In the back story Rae’s boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), is taunted by the man who beat her about her promiscuity while he was stationed away. Having returned early because of anxiety issues he searches for her and finds her in the care of Lazarus, but not understanding is ready to do murder on them both.Black Snake Moan immediately catches the fire and heat of the south, it’s elegance and it’s viciousness and a rawness it exudes. It’s different than other places in the world, some for the better and some for the worse.
From the first scene the director gives us a taste of theme sex is going to play in this film. While it has a storyline to back it up, make no mistake, this movie is more about visually expressing itself than verbally. It’s told through a tale of intense music and slow motion shots of the half naked Christina Ricci, which most men will certainly not
object to, but it’s by my own admission that it added to the art and point the director was making. It was visually a most intoxicating film.
The acting was stellar. That being Sam Jackson and Christina Ricci. They had a great chemistry and played well off each other, but the connection they developed and friendship created felt tangible. It was probably one of the best roles I’ve ever seen Ricci in. Though half naked throughout, her character had a huge range of emotions and change she was going through and Ricci interpreted it onscreen beautifully. And Sam Jackson was subtle when he needed to be and strong when it called for. They were a great onscreen duo. Justin Timberlake is obviously pretty green, but he shows a lot of potential and actually has some talent. I’d like to see him do more roles like this, that actually require him to show range and push himself further. It will only make him better.
The film seemed less about the story and focused more on the character’s and their changes, while their pasts crept into their futures and began meddling for better or for worse.
The journey’s each take is captivating and makes you sympathetic. The director, Craig Brewer, took his time to tell the story exactly how he saw fit. I fear some people won’t enjoy the slow pacing, the attention to detail, nor the drawn out dialogue between Ricci and Jackson, which I found necessary to the way the story was told and developed.
Black Snake Moan was a different, certainly “R” rated flick about two people that have hit rock bottom and find each other, and in some way save each other. It was an excellent movie that showed the dark and light sides of even the seemingly most disturbed of humans. I enjoyed it a great deal but this movie really isn’t for everyone. If you enjoy things that are a little off kilter like Four Rooms, this might be a movie for you.