‘Black Snake Moan’ Movie Review (2007)

Black Snake Moan Movie ReviewWriter/director Craig Brewer hit the scene out of nowhere with 2005’s surprise hit Hustle and Flow about a pimp rapper and he is ready to hit audiences with another story right out of left field with Black Snake Moan. Brewer admits his films are quite personal and a lot of himself finds its way into his scripts. Oddly enough, if you have seen the trailers he compares himself to Rae, the young lady chained to a radiator, which serves as the center piece of the story you will be told.

You see, Rae, played by Christina Ricci, is a nymphomaniac. Her one and only true love, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), is the only person that has managed to make a connection with the young and misguided girl. Unfortunately, Ronnie is in the military and is heading to war and their connection is all but broken. Lost, Rae falls into familiar territory, a move that ultimately finds her beaten and left for dead on a backwoods country road.

Cue Laz (Sam Jackson), a God fearing bluesman who is just as lost as Rae. When Laz finds her disheveled body outside his property he takes her in and makes a commitment to himself and to her that she is going to get herself right, even if it means chaining her to the radiator.

People may laugh at the idea of a young girl, dressed in panties and a cut off t-shirt chained to a radiator. I am sure some fools will find the idea having some sort of racial issue since she is white and Laz is black, but Black Snake Moan is not about that, it is about people and our insecurities and our need to be loved. One thing Brewer has done in his films is manage to find the heart and soul of each of his characters and make them wholly available to the audience and Black Snake Moan is no different, but it also has a little more.

Sweat, dirt, blues and sex also dominate. Black Snake Moan holds nothing back from its ability to draw the line in the sand but never telling you which side is safe. Whether Rae is half naked chained to a radiator or fully dressed, sweaty and dancing to Laz’s singing it is hard not to find her desirable, even though you know the truth of the situation and aren’t quite sure if what you are feeling is wrong. You question your feelings because you begin to feel for Rae, like she is a close friend and you and you want the best for her. You also make a similar, yet different, connection to Laz who has just lost his wife to his brother and is beginning to question his faith. I’m telling you, this movie has a lot to take in, but if you can handle it you won’t be disappointed.

There is no question the story is slightly absurd, but absurd storylines are held together through acting, plot points and entertainment along the way and that is what Black Snake Moan offers. With a running time of just short of two hours I do think Brewer forced his epilogue to a certain extent, but I can’t fault him for putting it on the line and going for it. In fact, along with Hustle and Flow, Brewer has found a way to introduce two truly human stories audiences will have an easy time connecting with all while using two oftentimes misunderstood genres of music to bring them together.



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