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500 Words On "Black Snake Moan" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Saturday, March 03, 2007

Whether or not someone might care for the new film “Black Snake Moan” can be summed up with their reaction to the following question: Does it seem reasonable to chain up a raging blonde and nubile nymphomaniac to your radiator to cure her of promiscuity?

Some might find the solution funny, outrageous, ridiculous, illegal or maybe all of the above. But that is the overriding premise of the movie, where Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci form an unlikely bond after he finds her beaten and half-naked on the side of the road.

Ricci was in this predicament because she is perpetually in heat, and after her boyfriend (Justin Timberlake) leaves to join the National Guard (but does not vacate their relationship), she barely lets him cross the state lines before seeking out new sexual partners before ultimately getting a ride home from the worst of them.

There’s a murky sort of morality running throughout the film as it casts a peculiar take on redemption and betrayl with a strong streak of spirituality and blues music running amok somewhere in the Deep South.

It’s a testament to Jackson’s unique ability to make nearly any situation seem plausible which keeps “Black Snake Moan” grounded in some sort of reality. He did the same thing last summer in dealing with a plethora of snakes aboard a plane, and few actors working today can do fierce half as well as Jackson as he lets palpable anger seep into his portrayal of an old bluesman whose wife recently left him for his brother.

Sounds like a blues song to me.

Ricci steps up to Jackson’s challenge, however, and gives him an excellent partner to play against as her role was tricky, a part that required understatement despite some fairly lurid acts and challenging wardrobe choices and Ricci nailed it.

Justin Timberlake was actually better than I anticipated as he turned in a solid performance, although I found him more believable in scenes where he was anxious, puking or crying versus others where he got tough and angry, but . . .

The movie’s tone is interesting as it is neither camp nor a heavy drama, but instead, is a strange mixture that was worth paying a matinee price, yet I would probably balk at shelling out for a nighttime show.

Still, “Black Snake Moan” doesn’t overextend itself, clocking in at a lean 96 minutes, and a significant portion of that time is spent “curing” Ricci with the help of a giant steel chain – an attention-grabbing premise if I’ve ever seen one.

Maybe I should start advertising for such a service in Austin because people are always looking for the next big thing in rehab.

I can see it now, forget group sharing circles and yoga and therapy – if you’re a good-looking nymphomaniac looking for a fresh start, just bring a blank check and a giant chain and call me, I’m here to help.



  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. your review is probably more entertaining than i anticipate the movie would be.
    but then again, might be worth a look. I like Jackson and Ricci.

  3. orchid Says:
  4. Leave it to you to look at the bigger picture, find the silver lining in it, strip it down, take the best possible angle...and profit from it!

    Ooops! I almost forgot! That's exactly what models do!

    Q: Did you actually pay more than a dollar to see 'Snakes'?

  5. tkkerouac Says:
  6. I want to go see this movie now, thanks for this.

  7. JLee Says:
  8. You are such a philanthropist!

    You almost can't go wrong with that cast, so I think I'd pay matinee to see it, but then again, I hardly pay full price for any movie. Of course I should have with "The Departed" since my phone rang no less than 7 times during the home viewing. Damn friends and family! Thanks for the review...

  9. Anonymous Says:
  10. This movie looks crazy! I never saw Snakes on the Plane either though..
    I might stick with re-watching Pulp Fiction for the 20th time. Although your review does make it sound kinda worth it

  11. Anonymous - Ha. The movie is fairly entertaining if you can bite on the premise. Definitely worth a rental at the very least.

    Orchid - I paid a matinee price for Snakes on a Plane, which I didn't feel too badly about (but not great either). And I'm a philantripist (sp?), I give and if there's profit along the way, so be it. Ha.

    Tkkerouac - Anytime as I like to get a sense of a movie and this one was interesting at the very least. Very good acting.

    Jlee - Exactly. And it does seem like everyone knows when you're watching a movie at home and decides to call - of course more and more people in theaters seem to feel that they're at home while watching in public, however, that's another post entirely.

    Anonymous - Pulp Fiction is far superior to either of the Snake movies, but I would go see Moan before Plane, depending on your mood of course.

  12. Linda Says:
  13. You are a true humanitarian! Just saw this film and LOVED it. Jackson is the glue, but all performances are strong ... the premise becomes secondary. I predict this will be a wildly popular rental.

  14. Jackson is definitely the glue with Ricci a strong second fiddle and I do think it's got a good rental future ahead of it. It was better than I thought it would be.

  15. slopmaster Says:
  16. this movie would not have been made in the 50's.

  17. No doubt about that.


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