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Old 07-03-2007, 03:23 PM   #122
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Black Snake Moan
Directed by Craig Brewer
Written by Craig Brewer
Starring David Banner, John Cothrane Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael Raymond-James, Christian Ricci, Kim Richards and Justin Timberlake

Director and writer Craig Brewer found tremendous success in 2005 with his first theatrical release, Hustle & Flow. The story of a Memphis hustler turned aspiring rapper won the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and landed Terrence Howard his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Now two years later, Brewer returns to Memphis, partners up with Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, and delivers the interesting bluesy-drama Black Snake Moan.

Rae (Ricci) is a small-town nymphomaniac, who aims to calm her wild ways by settling down with her boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake). But when Ronnie leaves on deployment with the National Guard, Rae returns to her dangerous partying habits, including a sexual hook-up with Ronnie's friend Gill (Michael Raymond-James). An angry Gill soon physically abuses Rae, leaving her battered and bruised on the side of the road.

The next morning, her body is discovered by Lazarus (Jackson), a deeply religious and emotional man who is distraught over his recent divorce with his wife. Lazarus takes Rae back to his house and helps to nurse her back to health, before chaining her up and working towards taming her crazy behavior. But while Lazarus works at cleansing Rae's soul, she enables Lazarus to find some much needed strength for himself.

A highly distinct film heavily supported by some fine acting, Black Snake Moan is a movie that will be immensely loved by some, and undeniably loathed by others. The story of an older man and a younger woman both at rough patches in their life and leaning on each other for support is absorbing, but it never quite becomes the movie one would have hoped, relying too much on its trashy exploitation premise before presenting us with an overly forced resolution.

Brewer once again showcases his talents as a director, carefully constructing a movie that has a unique and gritty style to it, providing an appealing dark and moody atmosphere, all the while making great use of its blues soundtrack. But Brewer continues to struggle with the writing in his movies, basing everything in Black Snake Moan around feebly-written characters involved in ridiculous plot occurences and spouting off preachy dialogue.

Much like Hustle & Flow, the main selling point of the film is the lead work of Jackson (Snakes on a Plane, Freedomland) and Ricci (Cursed, Monster). Both take on challenging roles and do a great job at making the audience buy into their characters, even when the script let's them down. Ricci is incredibly daring as Rae, having been filmed in several provocative states of undress, but still managing to command your attention through her strong performance.

A film that evokes curiosity and confers an unparalleled quality on the big screen, in the end, Black Snake Moan is hampered by its lack of developments and lazy writing.


Upcoming Movie Reviews:
Gray Matters, Dead Silence, Evan Almighty and Live Free or Die Hard

Last edited by tobynosker; 07-03-2007 at 03:30 PM.
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