Black Snake Moan (Brewer, 2007)


Black Snake Moan is a stunning anomaly compared to most current American cinema. Written and directed with a keen sense of humanity by Craig Brewer, Black Snake Moan takes chances concerning almost every cinematic function. It’s acting, including the brilliant Sam Jackson, Christina Ricci, and not surprisingly Justin Timberlake, resembles a choreographed reckoning of lost souls finally finding some semblance of hope. It’s music, a sharp mosaic of Blues tunes, represents the torment these tortured people have felt. And finally, the story, chalk full of potential disaster areas, consistently rises above cliche and paints a picture worthy of many dynamic explanations concerning the need for connection, whether it be with art or another person.

During these dreadful summer days of lethargic sequels and non-entity Hollywood passion projects, what impresses me most about Black Snake Moan remains it’s dedication to a vision – Brewer maintains his passionate view of the characters throughout, never over simplifying their plight or their redemption. Black Snake Moan might be about beating back past trauma’s and resurrecting the soul, but the film never sugarcoats these experiences for the viewer. As Jackson’s Bluesman Lazarus says to Ricci’s “white trash” Ray in their final embrace, “We’ll always have hope in each other.” It’s a phrase worth living your life by.