Black Snake Moan

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:56 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Black Snake Moan
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Paramount Vantage
Release Date: 2006
Kiddie Movie: Only if you might want them to be a foul-mouthed nymphomaniac.
Date Movie: If she can appreciate an artsier movie.
Gratuitous Sex: Some of it by choice, some of it not, and Christina has nice boobs.
Gratuitous Violence: A couple of fights.
Action: There isn’t any chasing going on.
Laughs: A chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: When Lazarus is playing “Black Snake Moan.”
Memorable Quote: Lazarus to Preacher: “My wick is dry on this.”
Directed By: Craig Brewer

Okay, before I get to this review, let me get the male pig in me out of the way. God bless Christina Ricci. God bless her for being 27 years old and maintaining a smokin’ hot body. And as importantly, God bless her for not being afraid to show-off her smokin’ hot body by getting naked in a movie. Now, back to a little more resemblance of professionalism (yea, right).

“Black Snake Moan” gives a movie that I think will split people into two camps. Camp A will really like the movie, understand its artsy nature with great performances, and come out of the theater thinking they have seen a great film accentuated with some good blues music. Camp B will be saying something like “What the hell was that piece of crap?” or “What happened to Samuel L. yelling ‘I want these mother fucking snakes off this mother fucking plane!’? That’s the Samuel L. I like,” and coming out of the theater feeling they wasted their movie-money. Me, I was in Camp A. Here’s the story…

Samuel L. Jackson is Lazarus. He spends his days selling his produce in a small, southern town. His wife has just left him, shacking up with Lazarus’ brother, and he is sort of stuck trying to figure out the rest of his life. Christina Ricci is Rae. She’s a nymphomaniac in love with Ronnie (Justin Timberlake). Sadly for her Ronnie is shipping out to the military, leaving her in uber-nympho mode which leaves her either having sex consensually or, having ingested a few too many pills and liquor, being raped. Rae’s life and Lazarus’ life intersect when Rae is left for dead near Laz’s pad. Laz finds her, and after realizing she isn’t possessed, just messed up, he decides it is his mission to save her from her nympho, self-destructive ways. What better way to accomplish this than by first chaining the girl to his radiator?

And so Lazarus begins his mission, first trying to get Rae physically healthy, and then trying to help her mind. But Lazarus isn’t a psychologist, so in desperation, namely because Preacher R.L. has found out Laz has a young, half-naked white girl chained to his radiator, he works with R.L. to see if the good preacher can talk some sense into Rae to stop her evil ways.

And of course, in the meantime, Lazarus is coming to terms with his own demons, and finding himself smitten with Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson), who helps him with some cough medicine for Rae. Through it all, and with Laz being an old blues singer, the music works to hold it all together, especially when Ronnie is back from his military stint because, well, loud noises frighten him.

“Black Snake Moan” has a lot of darkness in it, which isn’t really a surprise since Rae’s character has pretty much been abused all of her life, compounded by the fact that her mother tells her she wishes she would have had an abortion rather than her daughter. Lazarus, meanwhile, is in his own dark place, having given up his blues playing and hating his ex. But the movie does give a glimmer of hope to the most mixed up of characters, namely Rae and Ronnie, and you have a feeling that Lazarus is going to be all right, too.

The challenge for “Black Snake Moan” was really to find three people who could play the roles of Lazarus, Rae, and Ronnie, and the trio of Jackson, Ricci, and Timberlake was great. Samuel L. was probably in one of the best roles I have seen him in, Christina Ricci again shows a talent way beyond just taking her clothes off and looking hot, and Justin Timberlake has so far been picking roles (this one, and also “Alpha Dog”) that we forget he’s bringing sexy back and that he actually has talent as an actor.

Like I wrote before, I am in Camp A of people seeing “Black Snake Moan.” Even though the movie was more of the artsy, dramatic vein, I really liked most everything about the film, even the fact it didn’t take as dark a turn it seemed to foreshadow. Camp B people probably think the movie is a 1 starrer, but because I’m in Camp A I’m going to give “Black Snake Moan” 4 stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!