Movies on DVD Review: Black Snake Moan

Black Snake Moan

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Justin Timberlake. Written and directed by Craig Brewer.

In a small town in the Deep South, Rae (Ricci) and Ronnie (Timberlake) are getting it on before Ronnie is shipped off to war. We come to find that Rae is a white-trash trailer living nymphomaniac who was sexually abused during childhood. After a night of drugs, alcohol, and sex, Rae is left with a beaten face on the side of the road.

Enter Lazarus (Jackson). His wife Rose just left him for his slightly younger brother and now has to fend for himself by selling veggies from his garden and on occasion, playing blues music with one of his guitars. After throwing all of Rose’s stuff in the trash he finds Rae on the side of the road, barely alive. He takes her in and “nurses” her back to health, albeit with a padlocked chain around her waist connected to a radiator. Lazarus takes it upon himself to cure her through “scripture” and that maybe, by doing that, he can cure himself.

I really did enjoy this movie, but I don’t know if I can entirely recommend for this reason: you have to be “on the boat” with this idea. To watch this movie is to engage an interest in spirituality, recovery, and redemption. If you’re not into those themes, you may wanna pass this one by.

The blues wraps through this cinematic piece because of it’s relevance to the themes: Heaven, Hell, God, the Devil, sin, and forgiveness. These themes mark the music, which in turn becomes the backdrop to everything going on. If you’re into blues artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins or John Lee Hooker, then you can relate to this film.

As I’ve said before, I enjoyed the entirety of this. The beginning was a little slow, and I’m not a big fan of the culture, but I love the blues and spirituality, so those even out. Jackson, Ricci, Timberlake and company do a great job in making the world believable (if again you’re on the boat with this idea).

My grade: B+

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