Thursday, September 27, 2007

Me Mini Movie Reviews: Black Snake Moan

Another movie in the hidden gem that nobody saw department, Black Snake Moan is something different. A story from the deep south, about the Blues, and struggle for carrying on, if not redemption.

It focuses on Rae (Christina Ricci), a troubled girl who's known for her nymphomania and partying ways. When her only stabilizing influence - boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) - goes off to boot camp, she starts to lose it. Meanwhile, Lazarus (Samuel Jackson) is dealing with a bitter divorce from his wife of 12 years, not to mention a crisis of faith. After a party night gone wrong, Rae winds up in Laz's path, and he sets about to 'cure' her of her problems after patching her up. His means to a cure are debatable and unique, but together Rae and Lazarus try to learn to live again, but it isn't easy.

Jackson owns his role here, and is doing some of the best acting I've seen from him in a while. He's playing the character instead of just himself (Snakes on a Plane anyone?). Ricci surprises as well, pulling off a rather difficult role and getting you to sympathize with her character. Timberlake is a bit of an unknown quantity here, and while he doesn't completely embarrass himself in his foray into acting, it might have gone better with a more experienced hand in what turned out to be an important role. John Cothran Jr is excellent as Laz's preacher friend that is relied on as the voice of reason in the movie. And S.Epatha Merkerson as Angela brings some light to Laz's life as a new love interest and also sings a great impromptu acapella version of Balm of Gilead.

Which brings us to the real star of the movie - the soundtrack. The music is like another character in the movie and it's worth seeing just to listen to the blues. Definitely a soundtrack album I'll be buying.

Black Snake Moan is one of those movies that are hard to describe and was probably marketed wrong as people didn't know what to expect from it. Contrary to what the movie poster would suggest, it's more about a slice of life and troubled souls unexpectedly helping each other get a little further down life's path. It's something different, but worth checking out.

Verdict: Recommended. Rated R.

Comments on "Me Mini Movie Reviews: Black Snake Moan"


Anonymous originallru said ... (September 27, 2007 1:17 PM) : 

They did try to market the blues angle. They were running ads for the movie on one of the Blues podcasts I listen to.


Anonymous Marina said ... (September 27, 2007 6:19 PM) : 

I really liked this film, particularly the bar/dance scene towards the end which was overflowing with power and you're absolutely right, Jackson did a great job in his role here. Definitely a hidden gem.


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