Director Craig Brewer loves the south and I'm 2 for 2 for loving his films. If this film were made in the late sixties, it would be an unabashed cult classic that we'd be boasting of for decades. Samuel L. Jackson delivers another solid performance complete w/ gritty guitar-playing. Christina Ricci delivers a well-acted performance, although she can be a bit annoying at times. I'm gaining even more respect for Justin Timberlake since the SNL skit and after seeing his performance in this movie, things have never looked better for him. Some of the scenes w/o Sammy can drag, but the movie's themes balance it out and make for an enjoyable time for all. I don't know how Sammy stumbled on the snake theme, but it's definitely working for him. Also, David Banner is in this movie .. his first starting role pretty much suites him. He'd done his character naturally to the point he didn't have to act. I'm curious to see how far this rapper might go. The lighting, cinematography, music, film editing, and direction are absolutely stellar. The character development is so deep that you feel you actually understand them in their messed-up, crazy actions, and because of it nothing seems too far-fetched or out of the ordinary, even when it is. The movie presents itself to be about sex, but it is about far more than that. It is about loss, redemption, determination, and overcoming the mere physical pleasures in life to understand the deeper meaning of love.
It is a film about music. While watching this, I found myself lost in the poetry of the old blues lyrics. By understanding the art of blues, the audience is able to more fully comprehend what this film is about. Much like 'Hustle and Flow' tried to explain what Hip-Hop meant to it's hard-core "real" fans, 'Black Snake Moan' shows how the free-style, yet structured world of blues can act as the guiding light to those lost in the realm of physical pleasure. Blues is playing what you feel, but never straying from the main form that got you there. In the movie, the camera might stray from the norm of what we're used to seeing, but it never completely loses us. The editing, lighting, and direction is freestyle, but not in an Oliver Stone 'freakishly annoying' kind of way.
The blues is what leads to the final understanding between the two main characters. Music offers the understanding, redemption, and calmness through loss. This one is definitely not for everyone, as you might guess from the drugs, cursing, boozing, wild sex, assault, kidnapping, bondage, nearly naked people, frequent underwear moments, blues club dance moves and an overabundance of fringe religious bellowing. If you are a bit twisted, you will definitely see the humorous and campy moments and please don't take any of it too seriously. It is just a step up from Mr. Jackson's sub par "Snakes on a Plane" ... but the music is much better (except for the singing).