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Black Snake Moan

Sarah Leslie



Black Snake Moan is one wicked movie. It’s not often that you come across a movie which is so specific to its context that it simply could not have happened anywhere else. Movies like this tend to either suck you in completely or come off as totally irrelevant. Black Snake, as you might have guessed, positively oozes American deep South and blues. The plot is similarly off the hook; Christina Ricci’s marine boyfriend (Justin Timberlake – now I will admit to being a fan of his ever since his ‘N Sync days, but I know people who hate JT and still rate his performance in the film) goes off to fight in Iraq, but being a bit of a nympho she certainly, to put it euphemistically, gets around soon after his departure. Samuel L Jackson plays a blues guitarist whose wife has just left him for his brother. He comes across the passed-out, beaten-up Ricci on a road near his house and takes it upon himself (as a good Christian) to cure her of her weakness. His methods are somewhat unorthodox – they involve a padlock and a thirty foot chain. There are several great moments in Black Snake, my favourite being Jackson bellowing at Ricci to “get back in the house”. The music is also worth mentioning: I’m not much of a blues fan but the long scenes in the smoky basement bars are quite hypnotic in places. And although at first the film came off as a little slow, it soon became apparent that the slower pace reflects the languid torpor of the South, which has its own particular blend of bourbon, Christianity and rednecks. The acting is awesome, and Samuel L’s guitar is frighteningly good. I totally recommend Black Snake; its simultaneously sympathetic and scary portrait of the South, coupled with a unique plot make it unlike any other film you are likely to see this year.