Bright Lights Film Journal

Black Snake Moan: Oyyyyyyy Veyyyyyyyyy!

Funny, right? Because “oy vey” is like Jewish, and Jews don’t mess much with black snakes, but when they do, they be moanin’.

Seriously, who is most desperate here, Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, or America herself? Writer/director Craig Brewer, who already proved himself adept at pretentious cheese n’ sleaze in the pretentious, cheesy, sleazy Hustle and Flow, is at it again. Here’s the plot:

“Small town girl Rae (Ricci) finds herself aimlessly drifting through life when true love Ronnie (Timberlake) leaves Memphis for military service. When Laz (Jackson), a reformed bluesman, discovers her beaten and left for dead, he makes it his business to give Rae a chance at emotional freedom. In the process, he finds his way to Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson) and restores his own personal faith.”

Uh huh. He “makes it his business to give Rae a chance at emotional freedom,” all right. He chains a half-naked broad to a radiator as some sort of down-home personal therapy for the both of them, because that’s what you do when you find a half-naked white girl, take her home and chain her to a radiator until she learns to behave. Well, I’ve got news for you, “Laz.” It don’t work! You start chaining white girls to your radiator, you be up to your ass in white girls! They don’t leave! They just hang around and snivel!

I’m worried about this film. I’m worried about Christina’s southern accent. I’m worried about a lot of things. But mostly, I’m worried that when this flick hits the streets the South is going to secede from the Union. And this time, they’ll be right.

The posters alone for this flick, deliberately intended to have a fifties drive-in flavor, are enough to make a grown man cry, or moan. John Waters must be in heaven.