Black Snake Moan (2007)

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake

Directed by: Craig Brewer

R. 116 mins

Messy and misogynistic, this is a lesson on morality covered in lurid details. Black Snake Moan is the odd tale of a washed-up blues musician (Samuel L. Jackson) who stumbles upon the town nymphomaniac (Christina Ricci) lying on the side of a country road clinging to life after a severe beating. As she lies on unconscious, he chains her to his radiator in the hopes of using the power of God (and blues) to cure her of the wicked sickness. There is something exciting about how outrageous this film is but it’s clear that director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) thinks this is a lot more risqué than it really is. The glue that holds the implausible story together is the memorable acting delivered by both Ricci and Jackson but ultimately they are just adding fuel the the inferno of Southern stereotypes and sexist ideologies. Black Snake Moan is enjoyable only because it is so ludicrous that one hopes there is a deeper reason for all this exploitation but alas, there doesn’t seem to be much there except pulp and patriarchy – * * 1/2

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