Sunday, March 04, 2007

Black Snake Moan / Zodiac

Random Song 1: Feist - My Moon My Man (Myspace)
Random Song 2: The Game - Wouldn't Get Far (ft. Kanye West) (buy)

Black Snake Moan

The one word I did not expect to associate with Black Snake Moan is charming. Yet that is exactly what the film is, a very charming story about finding love through redemption. Granted the premise of an older black man chaining up a half-naked white woman, to cure her nymphomania, screams adult film in the making. The funny thing is, there is actually very little sex in the whole film. Sure there is phallic imagery galore, but they do not overshadow the central idea of people being unable to let go of the past. Although director Craig Brewer recycles some of the same themes found in his debut, Hustle & Flow; this film is more mature than its predecessor. You cannot help but get drawn into the world of these characters. I liked the way in which music was used throughout the film. Craig perfectly shows how blues music is filled with both the heart-wrenching sadness, and raw grimy sex appeal. Brewer should also be credited for getting such strong performances from his entire cast. Samuel L. Jackson, who has basically played Samuel L Jackson for the past couple of years, is great as a musician whose life is sadder than any blues song he sings. Seeing him back in that southern setting reminded me of how good he was in Eve’s Bayou. The chemistry between Jackson and Christina Ricci really helps to keep the film grounded and true. In regards to Ricci, I think she gives her best performance to date. She hasn’t been this interesting since The Opposite of Sex. She hits all the right emotional notes in the film. At the beginning her withering around “in heat” comes of comical, yet as the film progress she becomes the one person you end up rooting for the most. Justin Timberlake has a small role in the film and, to be honest, he is actually pretty decent. Yet his character was not really that essential to the story. Despite its ridiculous premise, Black Snake Moan is a surprisingly charming film that I enjoyed far more than I originally anticipated.

Random Song 3: Samuel L. Jackson - Stack-O-Lee (buy)
Random Song 4: Pearl Jam - Jeremy (buy)


David Fincher has brought a certain level of style to all his films (e.g. Seven, Fight Club, Panic Room, etc…); which makes his restraint in Zodiac so interesting. Knowing very little about the murders, I went into Zodiac expecting a highly stylistic take on the infamous Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco. Instead, Fincher delivers a slow burning thriller (maybe too slow in some parts) that really does maintain a nice level of tension throughout. Spanning over 14 years, the film focuses on a cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), a journalist (Robert Downey Jr.), and a cop (Mark Ruffalo) as they all try to figure out who the Zodiac killer is. Fincher pretty much divides the film into three parts. We not only see how each man played a crucial role at different stages; but also how the case caused havoc in all of their professional and personal lives. Zodiac also documents the numerous conflicts that arose between police departments in different jurisdictions; especially in regards to the sharing, or lack thereof, of information. As a mentioned earlier, Zodiac is a film that takes its time to unfold. It plays more like All The Presidents Men, than it does CSI. This will probably make, or break, the film for a lot of people. Especially since the film feels much longer than its two and a half hour running time. Zodiac was even starting to test my patience in parts, but I was glad I stuck with it. By time you reach the end of the film; you understand, and appreciate, a lot of Fincher’s choices. Overall I recommend Zodiac; just do not go in expecting a fast paced film.

Video: Timbaland - Give It To Me (ft. Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake) (buy)

Random Song 5: Justin Timberlake - Losing My Way (buy)
Random Song 6: Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake - Dick In A Box


  1. Zodiac was a excellent film! One of the best of 2007.

  2. @Ty - I find Zodiac gets better with each viewing. The pacing does not seem as slow the more I watch the film.

  3. I liked Black Snake Moan a lot. The scene where Jackson first finds her on the road is actually quite tense because I didn't know if someone would see him and get the wrong idea. You could see his character was worried about the same thing.

    Pretty much every call back performance you mentioned in your review (The Opposite of Sex, Eve's Bayou) are the same ones I would have made.

    The only complaint I had with the film is that the director was way too obvious with how much of a smoking fetish he has.


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