Saturday, March 3, 2007

Movie Review: Black Snake Moan

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson and David Banner.
Directed by: Craig Brewer
Genre: Drama/Music
My rating: 8/10

Firstly, welcome to the first blog of this new site.

And secondly, I just got home from watching BLACK SNAKE MOAN and it was a rather enjoyable way to spend a late Saturday evening. Can't say the movie was entirely pleasant, had its disturbing moments, but not something a person who's watched a couple of episodes of Law & Order:SVU couldn't handle.

Set in a small Tennessee town by Memphis, Moan is about a couple of emotionally shattered people who cross paths and end up helping each other. Sam Jackson plays a has-been local bluesman, Laz, living on his farm and dreading his broken marriage and unfaithful wife. Christina Ricci impresses as a rural southern girl, Rae, with a disturbed childhood and overly dependent on her boyfriend (Timberlake) to keep her "urges" in check.

However, when Timberlake's character leaves for a military tour of duty (something we're getting more and more used to nowadays), Rae's urges go out of control and is one day found beaten up on the side of the road. And that geographic location coincidentally happened to be outside Laz's farmhouse. As you may have seen in the trailer, he decides to take her in to personally rehabilitate her and ties her up with a chain and lock to the heater's radiator. He just picked up a bible, opened a random page, read it, and pat came the decision.

If you happen to know of a young disturbed lady with nymphomania, save on health insurance and cash and just send her down to the old bluesman in Memphis whereabouts. The perks: get to eat yummy southern food every day.

Great acting by Jackson and Ricci, decent support from the rest of the cast, good blues music here and there keep the movie going along well without a dull moment. I even had to wait to go to the restroom after drinking my large soda just anticipating something unpredictable would happen. Samuel L. Jackson also did a decent job at singing and strumming the guitar. Christina Ricci fit the role well, but I always thought she's too Italian to play a southern blonde. TV's Law & Order Lt. Anita Van Buren (Merkerson) also performed graciously as Jackson's pharmacist + gradual middle aged love interest. Justin Timberlake, while I'm not a great fan of his music (except for D!ck in a Box which doesn't count) - he's proving to be a fairly decent actor for the roles he's played so far. While I can't see him being the next Frank Sinatra (who won an Oscar), I don't see him being the next actor Elvis either (the reason Razzies exist). Surprisingly, he is originally from Memphis TN, so the accent must have been the easiest part of the job. Mississippi rapper David Banner played a local dope dealer and Rae's friend-with-benefits, and did an alright portrayal of the role. John Coltrane played the local preacher RL, and Laz's, well, only friend and confidant.

The first time I saw the preview for this film was last year before Snakes on a Plane and have been looking forward to it since. Confidently, I'm not disappointed one bit. It did end up being different from what I predicted, and I'm glad. Won't give away any spoilers, and different people would expect differently after just watching previews.

Bravos for pointing out that racial tensions still exist, and blues music is still alive somewhere. And that there still are some men who don't get lured by a half naked, soon to be fully naked, nymph giving in.

8/10. Cheers, and enjoy the movie!