Thursday, November 15, 2007

Black Snake Moan (2007)

* * *

How often does a film's soundtrack completely overshadow its plot? Aside from an entertaining performance by Samuel Jackson and a wild turn by Christina Ricci, the soundtrack is unfortunately all Black Snake Moan has to offer. The story of a down-and-out young sex addict who is taken in and nursed back to stability by a Bible thumping former bluesman is so over-the-top that even those who are attracted to it for being different will be overwhelmed. Scenes involving a girl chained to a radiator and violent sex driven flashbacks reminiscent of the Exorcist will chase away 90% of the potential audience, and the chance that that remaining 10% will find this film worthwhile due to a remarkably well chosen and executed soundtrack is slim. For those who do stick around for the ride, Christina Ricci is somehow both scorching hot and repulsive as a trailer-raised southern girl on a sex-spiked spiral after her boyfriend leaves to fulfill his service commitment. Justin Timberlake, who plays her boyfriend, seems to have been cast due to his name and not his talent. He doesn't fit into his role at all, takes most scenes beyond where they need to be without any nuance, and overall sticks out like a sore thumb in this dirty, gritty film. Written and directed by Craig Brewer, Black Snake Moan is an entertaining follow-up to Hustle and Flow, but not nearly as good. Where Hustle and Flow surprised many by being an excellent film, Black Snake Moan takes an intriguing premise and brings little substance to the screen. For those looking for a freak show, Jackson and Ricci are more than a good time, but for most the film goes too far in terms of content and time, running at least thirty minutes too long. Buy the soundtrack and fill in the blanks yourself.

Good for: blues fans, Ricci fans, people who go to carnival freak show tents

Bad for: the easily offended

The Gallery
The Surfer: * *

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