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Black Snake Moan (2006)

Black Snake Moan Director: Craig Brewer
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Cothran Jr

Tagline: Silly!

In this profoundly silly effort Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, a god-fearing farmer and ex-bluesman who finds the battered body of town hussy Rae (Christina Ricci) near his property one day and decides to take her in to look after her. She plays up on him so he ends up chaining her to the radiator until she 'gets better'.

Her man Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) is meant to be away serving in Iraq, but that didn't stop Rae acting up as soon as he left. A young neighbour of Lazarus' finds Rae in his house and she immediately jumps his bones. Reverend R.L. (John Cothran Jr) also turns up at the same time and Lazarus is forced to let the cat out of the bag.

In true Stockholm Syndrome style Rae and Lazarus end up becoming friends and he takes her to one of his gigs. Things go bad the next morning when Ronnie turns up unexpectedly and you can imagine how it goes from there.

I can just imagine this movie is going to be promoted as some bizarre kink-fest due to the chain scenes. This will disappoint a lot of the audience who will turn up expecting something sexier. I have no idea why vanilla writers are so interested in non-consensual BDSM practises as it is really no fun if only one person gets any pleasure out of it. I can see how they were going for a Deep South version of "Tie me up! Tie me down!" but it doesn't quite work out.

Samuel L. Jackson was miscast in this role as while he can do the fire and brimstone act well, you never believe he is really that old and it looks like a bad wig he is wearing all the time. I would have liked to see how Morgan Freeman would have handled the role as it would have been more of a challenge for him to do such a role, but it would have been more realistic in the end.

Christina Ricci was fine in her performance, but the rest of the women characters were pretty much in the background.

The one bright spot in the film was the soundtrack which included the following:
1. Opening Theme (Scott Bomar)
2. Ain't But One Kind Of Blues (Son House)
3. Just Like A Bird Without A Feather (Samuel L Jackson)
4. When The Lights Go Out (The Black Keys)
5. Standing In My Doorway Crying (Jesse Mae Hemphill)
6. Chicken Heads (Bobby Rush)
7. Black Snake Moan (Samuel L Jackson)
8. Morning Train (Precious Bryant)
9. The Losing Kind (John Doe)
10. Lord Have Mercy On Me (Outragious Cherry)
11. Ronnie and Rae's Theme (Scott Bomar)
12. The Chain (Scott Bomar)
13. Alice Mae (Samuel L Jackson)
14. Stack-O-Lee (Samuel L Jackson)
15. Old Black Mattie (R.L. Burnside)
16. That's Where The Blues Started (Son House)
17. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down (North Mississippi Allstars)

You do get to see Samuel L. Jackson perform these songs in the movie so they are not only on the soundtrack for the novelty value.

I wouldn't rush out to see this film, but it is maybe worth a rental if you are into blues.

Rating: 6/10

Official site
IMDB entry
Samuel L Jackson performing Stack-o-lee

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