A white woman, a chain, a radiator, and a whole lot of blues

I took in a double feature of Black Snake Moan and Zodiac on Friday night at the local theater, and the former turned out to be quite a feel-good flick (Zodiac review is on the way). In Black Snake Moan Samuel L. Jackson plays an old blues musician/farmer named Lazarus that happens upon the beaten, bloody and unconscious Rae (played by Christina Ricci). He takes her into her home, but soon discovers that Rae is an out-of-control nymphomaniac. Lazarus feels it is his duty to help this tortured soul, so he does what anyone else would do in this situation– he chains her to a radiator.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well it is. And although Black Snake Moan is quite a quirky film, it has a lot of heart. Sam Jackson and Ricci deliver some of their best performances ever here. As much as Lazarus does to help Rae overcome her illness, Rae does just as much in return to bring the music back into Lazarus’s soul.

The very best scenes in Black Snake Moan involve music– in one particularly stirring scene, Jackson sings “Black Snake Moan” in the middle of a thunderstorm while a terrified and vulnerable Ricci clutches his leg. The scene is extremely well-shot, and the song freakin’ rocks.

At its core, Black Snake Moan is a film about platonic love between two people. It’s about how two people can heal themselves through the power of friendship, and the power of music. It also doesn’t hurt that Sam Jackson is (as always) a total bad ass and Christina Ricci is in her underwear for half of the movie either. Overall, I thought Black Snake Moan was a slightly odd, very charming film with a great soundtrack. Recommended.

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~ by theoberlander on March 5, 2007.

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