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Black Snake Moan
The other “Snake” movie with Samuel L. Jackson
Black Snake Moan
Samuel L. Jackson Stars in the Romantic Drama "Black Snake Moan".
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $14,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

June 2nd, 2006: A God-fearing, elderly African-American bluesman named Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his hometown after recently being abandoned by a woman he still loves. Stirred by his current state of despair, he comes out of retirement to play at a local club. During a passionate performance, he spots a young, seductive, attention-seeking redneck girl named Rae (Christina Ricci). Intrigued, he approaches her and eventually befriends her. Rae is a victim of childhood sexual abuse – a painful history that has transformed her into the town floozy, always looking for love in all the wrong places. Much to the displeasure of her angered, sex-addicted boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), Lazarus becomes a father figure to Rae. Having put his dark past behind him, he sees her as a wounded creature and attempts to nurse her bruised psychological condition back to health.

What to Expect: Writer-director Craig Brewer is rapidly becoming an emerging filmmaker of great relevance. Last year, he delivered the surprising and triumphant drama, Hustle & Flow, which made a star out of Terrence Howard after a decade of relatively forgettable film roles. As the pimp-turned-aspiring-rapper Djay, Howard was the standout actor in Brewer’s tale of redemption set within the world of the Memphis rap music scene. The performance earned Howard a well-deserved Oscar nomination.

Article continues below

For Black Snake Moan, Brewer is returning to the same regional and controversial storytelling of the previous picture. Filming once again in Memphis, Brewer is seeking to make this his tribute to the raw, angry, seductive, and cinematic blues music he is most familiar with. He claims that the movie will evoke a trance-like atmosphere of the North Mississippi blues. I will have to say that he probably knows his music given his take on the rap scene in Hustle & Flow. The film’s catchy theme “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” by Three 6 Mafia shockingly ended up taking the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Samuel L. Jackson reportedly brings his own musical knowledge to the role of Lazarus. With so many film parts to play each year, the actor somehow still finds time to learn how to play instruments. In many of the movie’s scenes, Jackson actually sings and plays his own guitar. Black Snake Moan will also boast one of his biggest physical transformations ever. With gold-capped teeth, Jackson seemingly blends into the role of a growling, grizzled old man. However, it is the newly blonde Christina Ricci that will be grabbing all the headlines as the film’s release date approaches. The film reportedly contains what is sure to become a highly controversial scene of the sweaty, half-naked Ricci grinding against other black men and women in a Memphis juke joint. In general, former child stars in sexually mature performances tend to draw attention from the media. Undoubtedly undermining the film’s authenticity a bit, Justin Timberlake has been given a substantial part as the sex-obsessed boyfriend. Being born in Memphis probably helped the pop singer get the role as he looks to venture into acting on a consistent basis. I would be worried that his performance will be totally obscured by his faux-ghetto accent, but Brewer claims that Timberlake is great in the film.

Of course, the sexually and racially charged imagery in Black Snake Moan will serve as a set up to look deeper into the psyches of the main characters. According to the director, the film will be about characters whose lives are caught in a depraved state and how the two can ultimately help save each other. It will strive to create an intimate connection between two people who come from drastically different backgrounds in society. Lazarus has good intentions with Rae, but remember that he is somewhat fragile and damaged himself after his woman has left him. In an attempt to “cure” Rae, he keeps her trapped on a 20-foot long chain that is fastened around her ankle with the other end secured around a kitchen radiator. Talk about imagery that reverses this country’s cultural and racial history. To me, the film’s story suggests almost an exorcism of sorts and indeed the director has alluded to that.

In Conclusion: With Black Snake Moan, Brewer returns to a tale of redemption that is comparable to the one found in Hustle & Flow. I am not speaking with my own personal musical preferences in mind, but I cannot imagine the blues setting rousing modern moviegoers the same way that the world of underground rap did. Fortunately, Ricci’s sexually charged performance should help generate the buzz for the picture. However, a film’s controversial nature is merely superficial and irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether it is actually entertaining. Since I enjoyed Hustle & Flow, I’m looking forward to see how Brewer will explore these rather riveting themes.

Similar Titles: Hustle & Flow, No Good Deed, Ghost World
March 2nd, 2007 (wide)
June 26th, 2007 (DVD)

Paramount Pictures

Craig Brewer

Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, John Cothran Jr., Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, Brandon Raines, Michael Raymond-James, Leonard L. Thomas, David Banner

Total: 83 vote(s).

Drama, Romance

Click here to view site

Rated R for strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use

115 min





Black Snake Moan at RottenTomatoes.com

Black Snake Moan at AskMen.com

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