Samuel L. Jackson in Black Snake Moan (2006)

Curing the Sickness

Rae (Christina Ricci) was a wild child but after meeting Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) she turned her back on her old ways. That is until Ronnie leaves to join the army in order to make something of himself and it sends her spiralling backwards in to a world of sex and drugs, drugs and sex. It is after one night of sex, drugs and being used and abused that she ends up meeting Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) who finds her collapsed on the road as he journeys home from the market where he sells his fruit & veg. Lazarus is as much of a damaged soul as Rae, a former bluesman with a failed marriage who has nothing in his life. But in tending to Rae's cuts, bruises and chronic cough he takes it upon himself to chain her to a radiator in order to cure her of what causes her to seek sex and drugs leading to an unlikely friendship. But it also leads to problems when Ronnie discovers that Rae is with Lazarus.

As a movie reviewer most movies I watch are just ordinary, they feature familiar storylines, familiar styles, familiar dialogue and whilst some might be better made than others the majority are regular movies. Regular is not what you can call "Black Snake Moan" a movie which is half exploitation, half redemption and all provocative. But movies like "Black Snake Moan" leave me torn as a movie reviewer because I honestly believe that movies like this should be experienced with the minimum of knowledge so that you can make up your own mind and as such whilst this is a movie you can write pages on I feel I should keep things to a minimum.

Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan (2006)

So first up "Black Snake Moan" is not the sort of movie you want to watch with your parents with an opening sex scene between Rae and Ronnie followed one a little later where Rae is bent over a sink. That opening scene is kind of amusing when you consider Timberlake who plays Ronnie was part of The Mickey Mouse Club and Ricci was a child star appearing in Disney's remake of "That Darn Cat". But it sets the mood with other scenes of sex, nudity, drinking and general debauchery. Yet at the same time we have violence and we see the angry side of Lazarus in a bar where he smashes down a beer bottle right next to a man's head. That is nothing featuring a scene where Rae gets beaten up by a man.

Now what won't surprise many is that Rae and Lazarus end up having this strange friendship being the catalyst for some healing and redemption. But this anything but a normal sweet friendship, come on he chains her to a radiator and she tries to seduce him. But yet in the uniqueness of this friendship, the twist on the familiar it is surprisingly charming and a little weird.

I've said more than I planned to but to try and keep this brief the performances are first rate through out. Samuel L. Jackson delivers that element of hell and fire which you know he is capable of but also delivering that sensitive side of a damaged individual with a caring side. Whilst Christina Ricci basically puts everything out there in a full on physical and mental performance which is captivating on so many levels and trust me will blow you away.

What this all boils down to is that "Black Snake Moan" is a must watch movie with an interesting play on a familiar story of two damaged individuals. It is different and risky but touching whilst dangerous, basically you need to watch it and experience to appreciate it.