"Samuel L. Jackson" is the story of Lazarus (Black Snake Moan), a former blues player who's now living the blues. His failed marriage and cheating wife have hurt him deeply, leaving him bitter and broken; feeling lost and betrayed. One day, he finds a half-naked white woman who's been beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. He brings her into his home and tries to nurse her back to consciousness and health. He soon finds out that her name is Rae (Christina Ricci), the town tramp who's slept with every guy she's gotten her hands on. She'd been abused as a child and abandoned by her mother, so she did what she had to do to survive by giving guys whatever they wanted in exchange for whatever she needed at the time... money, food, drugs, etc. To Rae, it's a compulsion – she can't control it on her own. Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) was the only person to ever accept her and love her and he helped her to stop her compulsions. However, when he's called off to go to boot camp, she's left alone and quickly reverts to her old ways. Now Lazarus is self-tasked with getting her "well again." So, he chains her up to his radiator and aims to cure her of her wicked ways. Refusing her sexual advances, Lazarus begins to help Rae overcome her deep-seeded issues and in doing so, he heals himself as well; mending his broken heart and soon finding new love in another woman named Angela.
"Black Snake Moan" is this year's standout drama. It's wild, wicked and a whole lot of fun! Samuel L. Jackson brings his "A" game as Lazarus, the bitter and broken man who was left by his cheating wife. There are several scenes where he even plays a guitar and sings the blues (in a very Samuel L. Jackson-esque way), which are absolutely brilliant! Christina Ricci's performance is absolutely mind-blowing and is truly a sight to behold. If she isn't nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" in next year's awards shows... well, frankly, then there's something wrong with the cosmos! The more I think about it, I'm having a very hard time imagining any other actress who could have truly "owned" the role of Rae like Christina Ricci did. She was stripped down physically, emotionally, mentally and metaphysically all at the same time... it was amazing, truly amazing.
Let's not forget Justin Timberlake either... while it's still strange seeing him in movies (to me anyway), the guy can actually act! I can easily see him becoming a mainstream actor in the next few years. Lastly, I must give major credit to writer/director Craig Brewer. He has (in my humble opinion) created a masterpiece. The cinematography and set designs are excellent, the plot is unquestionably unique, and the humor and the drama are well-balanced.
All in all, I'd give this movie 5 STARS (out of 5). Re-watch value: HIGH
In a small Tennessee town, two unlikely souls are about to be lured together at the sticky crossroads between rage and love. Found lying on the side of the road, beaten and nearly dead, is Rae (Christina Ricci), a 22 year old who has developed a reputation around town for having an insatiable "itch" for sex. Her rescuer is Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), an ex-blues guitarist who has grown used to life's relentless strains of trouble and sorrow. Bitter and broken from his cheating wife and shattered marriage, Lazarus' soul is lost in spent dreams and betrayal. Desperate for a change himself, Lazarus holds Rae prisoner, and sets out to "cure" her of her wicked ways. However to get to the deep, dark bottom of Rae's mystery, abuse, and abandonment, Lazarus will first have to face the demons that reside in both their hearts. This is especially true when Rae's one true love Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), a Guardsman who was supposed to be headed for Iraq, comes looking for her. Set against its Southern gothic background, "Black Snake Moan" unfolds in raw, revealing and ultimately transcendent shades of blue. This was a very well executed story, I found myself drawn into the plot and character development right from the beginning. The cinematography is great and the actors are excellent. The development and chemistry between Jackson and Ricci is absolutely superb, and Timberlake did a great job as well. The way the story handled the emotional disorders was very classy and I really thought they did a terrific job. The blues music in "Black Snake Moan" was just downright excellent.
Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 5). Re-Watch Value: Moderate (I will purchase on DVD).
Trivia: Christina Ricci wore an actual forty pound chain during filming. Also, the title of the film derives from the Blind Lemon Jefferson song recorded in 1927.