Black Snake Moan

Rated NR

You’d think you couldn’t go wrong if your only plot conceit involves having the line, “Why you got a white woman on a chain?” repeated by three different characters, and yet, somehow, Black Snake Moan never quite gets off the ground. The dialogue is, as noted above, perfect, and the cinematography is the best I’ve seen in years. Every shot looks like it took hours to compose and light, and the color balance is stunning. Plus, Samuel L. Jackson plays an old bluesman, and if he’s ever considering a second career, he should try old bluesman. And Christina Ricci, who plays the white woman on a chain, is at least incredibly hot. The problem is that there’s no real plot, just a meandering set of scenes designed to set up the next great shot, one-liner or image of Ricci writhing on the floor in a nymphomaniacal seizure. I will say this, though: Writer/director Craig Brewer has perfectly captured the feel of 1950s/1960s “white trash” cinema. (That’s what they called it … sorry!) But other than the period re-creation, hot legs, cool blues and expert shooting, Black Snake Moan is basically a series of still images randomly arranged and then projected on the big screen.

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