Black Snake Moan
Once in a great while, someone makes a film specifically for me. Oddly, the
film makers don't even know they are doing it. Give me Samuel L. Jackson,
an amazing blues score, and a brilliant performance by a sometimes naked and
continuously underdressed Christina Ricci, and I am happy.
Samuel plays a truck farmer and former blues man whose wife has just left him
for his brother. His support group is a church, but as a drunk and all-around
character, it is an uneasy fit for him. Christina Ricci was abused as a
youngster, and turned into the high school slut. She has a relationship with
Justin Timberlake. He is subject to constant panic attacks, which she is somehow
able to ease. Whenever he is not around, she becomes a nymphomaniac. Timberlake
is off to join the Army, and she is off screwing anything in pants.
Timberlake's best friend beats Christina and dumps her in the middle of a
road, right next to Sam Jackson's place. She is unconscious, and suffering from
a fever and serious cough. Samuel L. decides to heal her, but not just her
immediate medical problems. To make sure she stays around for his healing, he
chains her to a radiator. Ricci and Jackson both eventually find redemption, but
not in expected ways. The two have no sexual tension between them, much less
sexual contact. Yes, she initially tries to bargain her body for freedom, but
when that doesn't work, she is forced to live in her own head for a while.
Samuel L. learned guitar for this film, and was able to actually play all his
tunes in this film, even though the sound track has prerecorded versions. As a
guitarist, I can confirm that Jackson was fingering the guitar correctly. This
is the second time I have fallen in love with a Samuel L. film that did not do
well (the first was The Caveman's Valentine). In this case, I am afraid the
public couldn't get past the idea of an old ornery black man chaining a young
half naked white woman to the radiator of his house. With brilliant performances
from Samuel and Christina Ricci, an amazing blues score, great cinematography,
and insightful looks at racial, age, gender, and social position issues, what is
not to like? In reading the first several comments at IMDb, it seems to me that
everyone who has actually seen this film has loved it. I have ordered the sound
track, and will watch the film again and again. If you have an open mind, watch
it. If you also love the blues, buy it.
comments by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Scoop's note: I agree with Tuna's analysis and have no problem
seconding the B-. I don't know if it should have been a hit, but dammit,
it should at least have been a small success. The film was mis-marketed as
an exploitation film (white girl chained to radiator in black man's
house), when it should have been presented as the thoughtful and
compassionate drama that it is, albeit one with a very steamy, almost
naked Christina Ricci smack dab in the middle of it. Since that is an odd
combination, the film might still
have bombed, but it could have bombed honestly. As Tuna notes, most people
who have seen it seem to have liked it.
Props to Ricci for a good job in a role with significant psychological
and physical challenges.
If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to
explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by
our definition, a
C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs
and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:
A film appreciated by many critics
and many viewers. We think it could have been a financial
success if marketed properly.
- Christina Ricci spent much of the movie in underpants and a tiny top which
barely covered her breasts. She showed her breasts in several scenes, and
her bum in one deleted scene.