The acting in this film is outstanding.  Jackson, a Tennessee native, does a superb job with his role, and you’d never know that Ricci wasn’t raised in the South (she actually spent most of her childhood in New Jersey).  The score is also superb, with a number of blues tunes that make for a very enjoyable soundtrack.  And the cinematography is just gritty enough, with excellent use of red lighting that gives the film a true blues feel.  They are all living the blues Laz sings, after all.

On the other hand, even though Brewer may be striving for artistic and hopeful, you can’t get around the fact that he has his leading lady wearing skimpy underwear and showing us her breasts throughout the film.  Both main characters cuss a blue streak and get very, very drunk more than once, and there are some disturbing sexual scenes.  Not only that, but Brewer also tends to hammer the hypocrisy that a promiscuous woman is wanton, whereas a promiscuous man is . . . well, just being a man.  And then there’s the whole Southern Gothic theme, which not everyone understands or appreciates.

Black Snake Moan, which takes its title from a song in the film, is not for the masses—especially those who like their movies sanitized.  Even if it doesn’t look particularly moral, however, this is actually a well-made morality tale.

AUDIENCE:  Adults only

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Deleted scenes
  • Director’s commentary
  • Featurette: “The Making of Black Snake Moan"
  • Featurette: "Rooted in the Blues"

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Strong.  Numerous sequences include alcohol, drunkenness, drug references and drug usage.
  • Language/Profanity: Strong.  Dozens of profanities and obscenities, many of which are strong.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity: Strong.  At least 30 minutes of footage of woman wearing bikini underwear and cut-off top without bra, including wrestling with man wearing same; occasional glimpses of bare breasts; various depictions of sexual acts, some of which are harsh and/or graphic; dozens of crude references to and portrayals of sexual acts, including infidelity and extreme promiscuity as well as a (consensual but nevertheless illegal) sex act between an adult and a child.  Theme involving child sexual abuse is referred to several times and implied through the use of flashback sequences.
  • Violence: Strong.  Woman is savagely beaten and left for dead; man attacks another man in bar; man imprisons half-naked woman by chaining her to radiator for several weeks; one female character beats another with mop; female character jumps on unsuspecting boy, after which they have sex; various scenes involving guns, weapons and threats of violence.