Monday, July 23, 2007

Movie Review: Black Snake Moan (2007)

I remember when Black Snake Moan came out. What I remember most about it - besides, of course, Samuel L. Jackson chaining Christina Ricci up - was accusations on the Internet that the movie was racist. "What would people think," they asked, "if it were some young black actress chained up by some old white actor?" I couldn't really disagree, it was a good point.

I should start out by saying that she's not chained up for the whole movie. She's chained up for 33 minutes of it - from 43 minutes in to 77 minutes in, of a 115 minute movie, so just over a quarter of the movie. Compare this to, basically the entire trailer, and it's a big difference. Well, I could have just said that the part about Ricci being chained up was a small part of the movie, Sam Jackson making a point, but as my friends from work would tell you, sometimes I gotta get all technical about it.

If there would be one point to the movie, aside from the obvious, I would say it's about Samuel L. Jackson's character dealing with the loss of his wife to his younger brother, and part of how he deals with that involves him trying to cure Ricci's character of what amounts to chronic nymphomania - the overwhelming desire of sex. In her case, it was brought on by her abusive mom and her boyfriend (him for doing it, her for approving of it and allowing it) but also, to a lesser extent, the film implies, by sin, temptation, maybe even the Devil.

This is one of the better movies I've seen recently. It's a great story, beyond the fact that Samuel L. Jackson is one of my favorite actors. I'm not too big a fan of the blues, but the music helped make the movie, from the music in the background, to what Jackson sings at home and in the bar, to even what Ricci sings later on in the movie. It's also good because there aren't too many movies like this - and if they are, they don't have the chain part, and they probably don't have Jackson, who really does add to any movie he's in. I was trying to watch Justin Timberlake as well, as he's not too well liked in online movie communities, accused of being a bad actor. I haven't really got an eye for that, but I tried, and couldn't find any fault with his performance. He was just as convincing in his role (albeit a small one) as Jackson and Ricci were in theirs.

The only thing I could possibly have wanted more would be to see Ricci's mom or the other abuser

I would recommend this movie for anyone - adults, anyway. The profanity in this movie seemed just a little over the top (were the Star Wars prequels the only movies Jackson didn't say "motherf***er"?) even for a Samuel L. Jackson picture - and I've seen movies with more profanity. It was more than fit, I think. And the sexuality, while it had a point (and did fit), had more than your average R-rated movie. So for adults it's fine, and in this day and age most teenagers have seen more - just don't show around any young kids, because that wouldn't be right.

PS - When we went to see a movie - damn it, but we can't remember which one, they had a big cardboard cutout promo for Black Snake Moan, complete with mini half-sheet posters. They had a ton, so we didn't get any when we came in. I grabbed two - one for me, one for this dude I work with who I know is a Jackson fan. As we were leaving, I noticed they had Jackson on one side, Ricci on the other, so I went back for a third. They're both up in our living room. The one on the left is the poster on IMDb (link above, or here), the right one is basically the same with Christina Ricci, laying down, and some minor differences. They don't go together or anything, but they look good together. See? (You can click it to see it bigger.)

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