.

Black Snake Moan

Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Cothran Jr.

Directed by Craig Brewer
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1.5
Community: star rating
5 1.5 0
February 20, 2007

As he proved in 2005 — with his rap about how it's hard out here for a pimp. In Hustle & Flow — writer-director Craig Brewer doesn't just use music in film, he lets it breathe. It's raw Memphis blues, from Blind Lemon Jefferson to R.L. Burnside and Jessie Mae Hemphill, that informs Brewer's Black Snake Moan. But, oh lordy, when the music stops, this movie needs a respirator. Look, I'm not knocking Brewer — the dude has real talent for evoking atmosphere — and the eye-filling sight of a mostly naked Christina Ricci, playing Tennessee white trash with her own spin on "she's gotta have it," is unassailable. But this time Brewer substitutes provocationor substance. And that dog won't hunt. No sooner has Rae (Ricci) sent her boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), off to the Army and Iraq, she's getting it on wither drug dealer, the football team and Ronnie's best friend — he's the jerk who rapes her and leaves her for dead on a dirt road.

Rae's awakening comes courtesy of — symbol alert — Lazarus, played by a graybeard Samuel L. Jackson. Lazarus, a former blues musician (Jackson sings, effectively), takes in this wild child, chains her to his radiator and gets fired up to cure her of her sex sickness. Offensive on multiple levels — if only the plot had any level st all — Black Snake Moan leaves no Tobacco Road cliche unsmoked. Ricci gives it her all, and then some, but even her body and Jackson's blues can't heal movie that rockets plum off its nut.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com