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|Index||199 reviews in total|
We just saw this film previewed before release at the Norfolk (VA) Film Forum, and there was general agreement on two matters: There were excellent performances in a first rate drama by the two leads and by others: and secondly, the marketing for this movie will only bring disaster. We saw a lurid poster with chains and suggestive commentary implying some sort of wacko sexual relationship between Samuel Jackson and Cristina Ricci, whereas the movie has some real depth and some thoughtful ideas. What's sad is that people looking for near porn will be drawn in to see the film and will be disappointed because it will be too "heavy" for them, while the people who would really enjoy it wouldn't be caught dead walking into the theater showing it. Too bad. A good film wasted.
Working at a movie theater as a projectionist, I have the opportunity to watch basically every movie that comes out. When I first saw the trailer for 'Black Snake Moan' I laughed and thought, "Great. Another 'Snakes on a Plane' Samuel L Jackson movie". But of course, I wanted to see it for the laugh factor. Many people have judged this movie too quickly based on the innuendo in the title, the images on promotional ads and on the fact that Justin Timberlake is in the film. Personally I loved every second of this movie. It tells the story of an older man and young woman who are both going through rough times and are able to reach out to one another. The story is truly touching and sends out a great message about life and how we live. Of course, I do not recommend it for young audiences due to some graphic material, but if you are looking for a great story and genuine acting from Sam Jackson, Christina Ricci and,yes, even Justin Timberlake, I encourage you to see 'Black Snake Moan'.
Just saw this fantastic film at the Sundance premier and cannot sing its praises enough. Last time I saw Craig Brewer he was singing Ike and Tina to the audience and turning Sundance upside down with his breakout film Hustle and Flow. This time around he fulfills on his big Sundance payday with another unique vision thats going to get everyone talking about Samuel L Jackson, and if you thought Christina Ricci was just that girl in the Addams Family movies then think again. Ricci plays Rae a complete mess of a women who without her beloved Ronnie, played by the getting better all the time Justin Timberlake, has an uncontrollable need for all things sexual. When Ronnie leaves for the a tour with the Army, Rae's demons send her tumbling down a bumpy road that leaves her used and abused left for dead on the side of the road. Along comes old blues-man Lazarus played by the great Samuel L Jackon, Lazarus himself has a few demons lurking around in his head as well, notably his ex-wife who done wrong by him. Lazarus gets to think about this young women and after some soul searching he takes it upon himself to cure her evil ways with some love, some lessons and a 40 lb. chain. I don't want to reveal too much so I'll just say there's some dark moments, some very funny moments and whole lot of great acting. This movie isn't by any means Hustle & Flow 2, however Craig Brewer does tie the two films together with his hope for redemption and change for the better for even the most unlikely of people. Audiences will find a movie worth watching here and worth thinking about well after it ends.
I'll be honest with you; this is not the type of movie that I'm usually
drawn to. All you have to do is watch the trailer and read the plot
summary to figure out where you stand. But just to continue this honest
streak, I have to admit that Jackson and Ricci are so good in their
roles, that they were able to pull me into the story and keep a grip on
Combining a sweltering Southern setting, blood and guts blues riffs, and a little unexpected Bible imagery, Brewer has definitely given this film a style of its own and an atmosphere that's as effective as the actors in telling this strange little tale of love and redemption.
Though its aspirations run higher, there's no denying that the film has its moments of exploitation. Ricci's half-nakedness for 75% of the film is testament to that. Those of you with more delicate palates might experience a little discomfort watching this, and understandably so. It's raw. It's ugly. It's dirty. Even Brewer agrees that this isn't exactly for everybody.
And that's what makes this such an odd movie to pin down. On one hand, I don't think I'd ever have a need to see it again. But on the other, I'm kind of curious how my opinion might be affected via a second viewing. Did I really like it? Or did I merely appreciate the effort and success in Brewer's ability to tell his unusual story in his own unconventional way? It's definitely a film that inspires discussion ... and a wide variety of adjectives. Strange. Over-the-top. Interesting. Unique. Uncomfortable. Take your pick. All these things combine to make it the theatrical experience that it unashamedly is.
It feels like a gritty, twisted blues song come alive on screen. It's a character study, and if you have any hope of enjoying it then you must accept the fact that the film doesn't shy away from showcasing the underbelly of a very disturbed young woman and the path she's traveling.
No, it's not for everybody. But love it or hate it, I feel safe in saying you likely won't see anything else like it this year. Proceed at your own caution. Just remember, everything is indeed hotter down South.
Black Snake Moan is the type of film that makes you stop and examine your audience before deciding who to recommend it to. It features very solid acting, a great atmosphere, and a strangely different story. But it also gets a bit sick and twisted at times and has no problems doing so. Take my words to heart and then go with your instinct on this one.
Just got back from seeing Black Snake Moan. I had spent time reading reviews ... most seemed to focus on the obvious ... "skinny white girl chained to a black man's radiator" ... I hate when "critics" miss the point of a film. Now I suppose it helps that I live in Memphis ... and have lived in Mississippi a couple of times too. It may also help that I am the former Director of the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale ... but I get this movie. Brewer's simple "redemption tale" is easy to follow and could have had various themes to tell the story ... but I believe it is highly effect as a "blues". It would be my hope that people don't read all the hype ... and/or various reviews ... and miss a really good movie. Get past the various things like skinny girls in white panties ... get past Justin Timberlake, accept his character Ronnis (which he plays very well) ... get past "Snakes on a Plane" and see how mercuricul Samuel L. Jackson is ... as he has transformed himself into a very believable Mid-South blues man. If you know little about Mid-South culture a lot of what goes on may strike some as cartoonish ... but accept the fact that Craig Brewer KNOWS how to paint the canvas and let the actors tell the story and you will enjoy this film. Not one to tell endings ... so go see this movie ... and yes I will agree with one thing the critics got right ... the music is wonderful!
Me and my roommate got free tickets for a Pre Screening I guess you
would call it in Atlanta, GA at Atlantic Station. Walking in I was
expecting something controversial, provocative, unnecessarily overdone,
etc.. But the film is much more than that. It's a story of two people
helping each other. It's not overdone, and the film is done in a
careful balance as to not make you cringe or say its unnecessary.
It's put together really well and doesn't take itself too seriously. Thats the beauty of it. If it tried to take itself seriously, it would have failed miserably, but instead it carries itself through humor (some unintentional) and some surprisingly good acting by Ricci. Although Timberlake fails miserably in his role, the movie is good enough for you to put that on the side.
I would definitely recommend this movie, if not for any other reason than the fact it is something different to experience.
I watched this movie at the first showing available in my area, and it was quite clear that most people didn't get the movie. Even if you don't, it's a good movie with some interesting character development. It is a thoroughly human story about some very imperfect people in a backwoods southern town, and really speaks to the root of the blues. If you don't know what the "Black Snake Moan" is by the time you leave the theater, you didn't get it. And no.. it's not just a song. Christina Ricci does a great job and is thoroughly convincing in her role, as is Samuel L Jackson. I think this is his best performance since his role in Pulp Fiction, and probably his best including that because of the range of his character in BSM. The rest of the cast is solid, with a few shining performances here and there, particularly John Cothran Jr as Reverend R. L.. I'm a very selective movie watcher, and this film honestly rates among my favorites because of its candid look at race, sex, religion and neurosis in a rural southern town, along with its cinematic genius, in my opinion.
If you've been looking for a film where a out of control nympho gets
chained to a radiator by an extremely religious southern man then look
no further than Paramount Vantage's latest release 'Black Snake Moan'.
Not exactly looking for what I just described you say? Well then, you
best get ya wits 'bout yaself and mosey on down to your local theater
and still see it as Samuel L. Jackson's character Lazarus would say. As
long as you're open minded and don't take everything seriously, there's
no reason you won't leave the theater glad you saw it.
In the third offering from director Craig Brewer, we are taken into the deep south where as the tagline to the film claims, everything is hotter. While there we're introduced to the Godfearing bluesman, Lazarus as previously said played by Jackson, and the almost always half naked Rae; a role bravely taken on by Christina Ricci. In the film this unlikely pair cross paths long enough for their characters to each learn a lesson from one another. Both lessons ultimately convey the message to us the audience that no matter what, we are all human. No one is perfect and if everyone would realize that, then we'd be a lot better off. The question of if this will be understood, or be accepted by all who see the film is another story.
One thing not up for debate is how great Jackson and Ricci both are here. You'd think with the role of a sex-crazed woman, overacting would be a given, but no, not here. Ricci breaks through and demonstrates true talent with a raw performance that also doubles as her best to date. Then we have Jackson who completely disappears and for the first time in a long time makes us forget who he even is. Sadly, the third star of the film, Justin Timberlake who plays Rae's military-bound boyfriend isn't all that great. At the start, he fails miserably as he appears to be trying too hard. Later on he steps it up some, still he's far from the level he reached in January's 'Alpha Dog'.
The other thing 'Black Snake Moan' boasts is a splendid soundtrack. Containing tracks from The Black Keys, John Doe, pieces from the score done by Scott Bomar, & of course four, count 'em, four tracks from Jackson himself. It's actually one of his songs, the main performance of the film, 'Stackolee' that is the fuel to the fire of this great collection. It alone is worth the ticket price. Other notable musical delights from the soundtrack are Bomar's 'The Chain', 'When the Lights Go Out' from the Black Keys, & the title track which is also among the most memorable scenes in the film where Lazarus sings to Rae on a stormy night.
The efforts of Craig Brewer can't go without mention though. His last film 'Hustle & Flow' which ended up surpassing low expectations and gaining critical acclaim put him on the map. What he has done with 'Black Snake Moan' will be what sets him apart from other newbies to the industry. He not only directed 'Moan', but also wrote its screenplay. The end result is a story that is surprising and clever. As you watch you feel like you know exactly where it's headed despite its valiant composure. Just as you think you've predicted the next move Brewer shifts gears and takes an entirely different route. There are however some blotches within the screenplay. The background characters are drab and flat while the ending is somewhat disappointing. It left me craving for something more exciting. After so many highs I guess the final scenes were a tad weak compared to the rest of the film.
I imagine the majority of people who see 'Black Snake Moan' won't enjoy it due to the fact they won't be able to stop themselves from thinking how unlikely the situations are. The depressing part about that is there are many other films with just as unlikely, even more outrageous scenarios that are widely well received. It's the issues of race, religious motives, & sexuality the film exhibits that will have more effect on opinion than anything. The idea of a black man chaining a white woman up in his house is enough to make most people not even consider seeing it. Simply put, it's not for everyone. Like I said, to fully enjoy it you have to go in with an open mind, or else you're just wasting your money. For those of you who can do that, I highly recommend it.
I knew as soon as I saw the first trailer for Black Snake Moan that I
would have to see it. I was not disappointed in the slightest in the
film, which was written and directed by Hustle and Flow's creator Craig
Brewer. It tells the story of a broken blues man and the nymphomaniac
he aims to cure not just for her sake, but also his own...yet it's so
much more than that. It's complex and rich and it manages to steep you
in a gritty, sticky, sultry blue Memphis without making you feel like
you need a bath afterward.
The characters are (for the most part) multifaceted and very well-written and performed. The accents and the dialogue were carried off flawlessly. However, there was one weak link in the chain: Justin Timberlake. The best I can say for him is that he can pull off crying...it's a rare male actor who can cry convincingly. However, Justin's Ronnie was flat, but as an actor he was trying very hard. I would definitely give him another chance.
Lazarus and Rae (Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci respectively) have a great chemistry and a great respect for each other. This is one of those films where it doesn't matter how good one actor is if the other one isn't up to the task and, luckily, both of the actors were up to the task.
The music was very bit as good as you would expect, especially when Mr. Samuel L. Jackson sings the blues. Phenomenal.
On the technical side, all was brilliance as far as I could see. It was well-edited, well shot, and well-mixed...everything was great. The character and set designs were just right, the casting of the supporting characters (even Justin Timberlake and especially Kim Richards) was spot on... Loved it.
Craig Brewer is now officially a writer/director for whom I will see
any film by, no matter how bad it may look. His debut, Hustle and Flow,
was one of my favorites from that year, with its emotionally charged
storyline and realistic, fallible characters. I wasn't quite sure what
I would end up thinking after seeing this sophomore effort. The cast
seemed great, the trailer used music effectively, however, it seemed
like there was a good chance it would cross into absurdity, and fast.
Fortunately, Black Snake Moan hits all its marks dead-on. The acting is
astonishing, the writing superb, and the editing style, as well as
juxtaposed music, riveting the whole way. Brewer seems to be a master
at getting his characters to have the right mix of both compassion and
malice as they set forward on their paths toward redemption.
The first moment I knew I was in for a treat was during the abbreviated credit sequence at the beginning. Like he did with Hustle and Flow, Brewer lays the music over the widescreen shots perfectly with simply titled fonts coming up statically. The 70's aesthetic was welcome and helped show that this would be another great character piece in the vain of those from that decade of some of cinema's best. From here we continued on with the short snippets into the lives of both Lazarus and Rae, each vignette mirroring the other while they journey to the fateful moment their paths finally cross. The editing between them was fluid and relevant rather than abruptly cutting before the scene felt finished with its purpose. Rae's boyfriend leaves for duty in the service and Laz's wife leaves him for his brother. Each feels the loneliness and reverts to what they know in that situationRae to sex and Laz to the bottle. Only when Rae is left for dead at the side of the road and her savior comes from his farm to take her in does the reasoning for their actions finally start to become clear.
Samuel L. Jackson is fantastic as the older bluesman farmer trying to reconcile his life with God and that of the flesh and the pain it has brought him. There are the moments of stoic sternness as well as those of kindheartedness with his captive/patient. You never really look at the setup as comical or unrealistic because he sells what he is doing so well. Also, the character of Rae is not chained up for very long, despite what the trailers would have you believe. The situation starts a bit awkward until we see that the chaining was for her own good and is actually used for only a day or two. As for that chained girl, Christina Ricci really shines. I never really saw her as anything special, but this role is a true breakthrough for her. This girl is so troubled that her past sexual abuse has scarred her very deep down. Any time she is away from her love she starts seeing flashes of the man who took her childhood innocence away and itches to be touched by any man available to let the image go away. Her nymphomania is not for pleasure, but rather for survival from the haunting nightmares always hiding behind her eyelids. Ricci fully inhabits the role and shows all the emotional trauma to great effect and realism. Mention must also be made of Justin Timberlake, again showing some real acting talent. Where this guy came from I have no clue, but hopefully he will continue taking more films and steer away from the mostly crap music he churns out.
While not as solid and consistent as Hustle and Flow, Moan still ranks equally to it, in my mind, because when it is on, it is spectacular. Towards the end we have a truly enthralling sequence with "This Little Light of Mine" singing out, and earlier, the interaction between captive and captor, when the chain is first introduced, shows some top-notch work. The truly magical moment, though, is when Jackson sings (yes that is him throughout, like it was Terrence Howard in Hustle) the titular song while a thunderstorm roars and the lights flicker. If I don't see a more beautifully shot sequence all year, I won't be surprised. What these two people do for each other is wonderful and shows what humanity is capable of. One thing I think I really enjoy with Brewer's work is the fact that he doesn't show sinners becoming redeemed heroes. Instead he shows us that no matter how bad you have been, or how bad life has been, everyone can strive for redemption and to be better people. We don't have saints here, but fallible people looking to right their ship. If the course stays true or if it falls back into darkness, no one really knows, but at least they can say that they tried as hard as they could.
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