Isn't it great when the perfect title for a movie review just hits you as you watch it? In the next few days, if you were so inclined, you could look up what many critics will have to say about Black Snake Moan, but you will not find a better headline than the one above.
This is a deeply weird but ultimately rewarding movie. Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) is an old bluesman whose wife ditched him. Despite quoting scripture and remaining friends with the preacher, he doesn't attend church anymore. Meanwhile, Rae (Christina Ricci) has curbed her nymphomaniac tendencies in a steady relationship with her unsteady boyfriend (Justin Timberlake), but starts to lose control when he leaves to train in the armed forces.
As it turns out, she uses sex as a means to quell the resurfacing of horrible memories of abuse, but her habit gets her into trouble. Lazarus finds her in disarray on his property, and restores her physical health. Her emotional health is another story, and his solution involves the chains seen in the movie's advertising.
Surprisingly, the film is quite funny in places. Rae's gotta have it; Lazarus is an imperfect man, but a good Christian, and handles the situation non-sexually. I think that decision (established early) eases the audience and allows us to accept the humor in their mismatch. Their relationship is not without some strangeness, but there's some legitimate emotional healing there.
While I have yet to see his earlier film Hustle and Flow, I liked writer/director Craig Brewer's attention to mood and setting. This is a deeply Southern picture, but not Southern fried. The story might deal with a stereotype or two, but within those confines he tries to create something that feels real.