Indiana Daily Student

Black Snake Moan- Film: B Extras: B-

Southern fried soap opera

Director Craig Brewer knows the South. There's something to be said about a man who makes his viewers feel every ounce of sticky humidity as if they were in the dirty bars or on the long dirt roads he depicts so clearly. Brewer's first film "Hustle & Flow" was a damn fine directorial debut, and "Black Snake Moan" only goes to show this guy is going places. \nRae (Christina Ricci) has a sickness -- call it a sexual appetite -- that intensifies when her boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) heads off to boot camp. She doesn't want to cheat on him; rather, she becomes possessed to do so. When one of Ronnie's "friends" tries to make his move and Rae denies him, he beats her up and leaves her for dead in the road until an old bluesman named Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) finds her. After Rae awakens, Lazarus soon realizes he's got something ferocious on his hands, someone who needs to be exorcised -- so what better way of doing it than chaining a half-naked woman up to his radiator?\nRisque? You bet it is, but we need more filmmakers like this with original ideas worth bringing to light. These are all fascinating characters portrayed with skill and passion. Samuel L. Jackson's Lazarus is an old ghost of a man, surely one of the better roles he has taken in recent times. Ricci handles the accent well and has no trouble becoming a sexpot. Even Timberlake is beginning to become a decent actor. The problem with these characters, though, is that we don't get enough interaction between them to build a solid story. There needed to be more exposition and conflict to truly sell it all the way home. \nThe supplements of "Moan" are pretty standard fair. A commentary by Brewer laments the struggles it took to bring his picture to the big screen and why the blues is so great -- both topics further commented on in a 30-minute making-of documentary and featurettes on the music. A handful of deleted scenes and still photographs round out the disc. \nBrewer narrowly missed his sophomore slump with "Black Snake Moan." Perhaps in time it'll grow on me, but for now I'll stick with "Hustle & Flow"

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