July 30th 2007 22:50
He nurses her back to health, and aims to cure her of her wickedness, a foul mouth and a burning addiction to sex.
It's dirty and raw, with the dusty farm roads of Tennessee making the perfect backdrop for this black hole of American culture... it's alluded to that the film takes place in the modern day, but it could easily have been 20, 30 or 40 years ago.
People are poor, with a sharp divide between black and white, though there's surprisingly little racism, suggesting that American culture hasn't really evolved in all parts of the country.
The film poster reminds audiences of grindhouse movies, and while that's not entirely correct, the screen is soaked with sex and lust... Lazarus chains Rae, played by Ricci, to his radiator in order to keep her from chasing men, and the chain is used to replicate kinky bondage scenarios.
And, damn!, is Jackson superb... his country black accent is picture-perfect as his style. He looks pathetic, alone in his farmhouse, but regains some of his younger strength once Rae needs tending to.
For that matter, Ricci captures the film... playing a sex-crazed maniac sounds like an easy role, but Ricci shows us the complexity of the role, with big, soft eyes that hint at a childhood of abuse, covered up with an angry shell.
Blues music is played over every scene, with Lazarus playing his guitar during a thunderstorm, or on his porch in the afternoon. I love the blues, especially the old tunes, which coax images of alcoholism, dirty night streets and an unquenchable fury. The music in Black Snake Moan, while fitting, didn't stir me the same way that some of the old classics do, but the soundtrack suited the film nonetheless.
Black Snake Moan is a stirring, humanistic film... you'll feel your blood pump through your veins as the film charts through all the major blues emotions: regret, anger, lust, sorrow. It'll inspire the senses, as sound and smell come alive off the screen, with the sweat on writhing bodies bringing you to the boil. "Live your life" says Lazarus, and we see why.
I say: A savage examination of the human soul, and one presented over the blues... definitely a great movie for Australian audiences.
See it for: Christina Ricci... I only knew her as the weird daughter from The Addams Family, and she's now a leading lady capable of carrying a film on her shoulders. We see a lot of her naked, horny body, and she looks... amazing... you'll almost be terrified by the hunger in Ricci's eyes.