Black Snake Moan Reviews

Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
March 3, 2007
Pitched uncomfortably but compellingly between homage and exploitation in its big-hearted exploration of the steamiest corners of black life.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Mark Holcomb
Time Out
March 3, 2007
Delightfully outrageous, Black Snake Moan is an explosive mixture of sex, race and down-South swamp water.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
March 2, 2007
For Black Snake Moan to work any sort of magic, it must be viewed as a blues riff on damaged souls and their desperate need for salvation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
March 2, 2007
The movie strolls right past absurdity into offensiveness, by trying to pass this pulp nonsense off as noble art.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 2, 2007
This is the kind of movie that's best enjoyed as a stylized fantasy, much like Brewer's most obvious model, Elia Kazan's Southern-fried Tennessee Williams adaptation Baby Doll.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 2, 2007
The characters never connect, and the movie never takes off. Rae may be the one sporting a padlock around her waist. But it's the movie that's shackled.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 2, 2007
Humid and overwrought, with Ricci working at fever pitch and Jackson bringing fire, brimstone and some passable blues licks to the equation, Black Snake Moan is no polite little indie thing, and certainly no formulaic studio exercise.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
March 2, 2007
Black Snake Moan is a trip to that unfamiliar territory well worth tagging along on.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
March 2, 2007
It's a steamy, searing saga of rigorous redemption confronting creepy Southern seediness. But it's not nearly the wake-up call it could have been.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 2, 2007
It's an exploitation film fraught with faux-sincerity, and ultimately it's utterly ridiculous.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
March 2, 2007
Despite its considerable unwholesome appeal, the movie gives us the feeling it has been chained up as well and that chain won't let it go any farther than a single outrageous idea.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
March 2, 2007
This is one of those ludicrous, semi-offensive, semi-entertaining potboilers that feels as if the script were dragged out from someone's naughty-book stash.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
March 2, 2007
Because Black Snake Moan asks its characters to confront demons involving sin and sex, it stomps into an area that lives between exploitative movie trash and Southern Gothic literature. It's bold without being especially believable.
| Original Score: C-
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 2, 2007
Having established his characters and built their bond, having cooked up a sense of place so strong you can taste it, Brewer can't find anywhere in particular to go. Suddenly he brings a gun into the mix, then takes an awkward Dr. Phil turn.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
March 2, 2007
An engorged melodrama meant to evoke the dark passions of country blues, Black Snake Moan often comes off like Britney Spears singing Skip James.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 2, 2007
Black Snake Moan is a myth-and-reconciliation story with outlandish scenes meant to make you laugh, make you uncomfortable. Both.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
March 2, 2007
Black Snake Moan is thick with Tennessee sweat and grit and the sound of insects. And it takes an overwrought, steamy path to what at least feels like a moral cautionary tale.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 2, 2007
Any movie that can make Samuel L. Jackson convincing as a great Memphis bluesman must be doing something right.
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
March 2, 2007
Had the old black man and the young white chick gotten it on, I think some audiences might have exploded. Perhaps sensing this, Black Snake Moan backs off, giving us a neat and clean Hallmark card ending.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 2, 2007
I love the way that both Samuel Jackson and Christina Ricci take chances like this, and the way that Brewer creates characters of unbelievable forbearance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
March 2, 2007
In spite of Amelia Vincent's toothsome cinematography and the down-home locations, the movie often has the lumbering, literal-minded rhythms of a second-rate stage play -- not a moan or a howl, but a slow, anxious groan.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
March 1, 2007
[Writer-director Craig Brewer] displays a real passion for the music and a knack for using it to create mood. But it's not enough to overcome the thinness of his characters or the greeting card sentiment that pulls the rug out from what came before.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
March 1, 2007
For all the preposterous clichés of the plot, Black Snake Moan finds unchained energy in its foolishness, and gives Mr. Jackson a chance to pluck a guitar and sing.
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Dana Stevens
Slate
March 1, 2007
Depriving a near-naked and recently assaulted stranger of the most basic physical liberty for days on end is a sick, perverse, and cruel thing to do. Black Snake Moan appears to be -- or, worse, pretends to be -- oblivious to that simple fact.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 1, 2007
An absurdly jarring collection of archetypal characters in miserable circumstances with a resolution that feels forced and tacked on.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 1, 2007
It may pull you into the tent with a promise of hoochie-koochie girls, but it delivers a rousing sermon on faith, hope and charity before it lets you back out again.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
March 1, 2007
I saw something, but I'm not exactly sure what it was. One thing's likely: You've never seen a film like Black Snake Moan, and you won't see anything like it in the near future.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
March 1, 2007
A cartoonish Baby Doll, with a suggestive blues song title, about sex, guilt and redemption. Black Snake is also a rather flimsy parable unable to support the weight of Brewers ambition.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
March 1, 2007
Maybe Jackson should avoid any more movies with 'snake' in the title.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
March 1, 2007
Brewer's reworking of Southern mythologies can sometimes seem condescending, even though his affection for the region's culture is palpable. But there's no denying he knows how to spin a yarn and create vivid, indelible images.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
March 1, 2007
Cockeyed and raffishly amusing tale of redemption, spilling over with blues music and southern-fried sexism.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 1, 2007
Black Snake Moan strikes me as hogwash. It fundamentally does not work; its consciously far-fetched, out-there notions of the things damaged people do in the name of love are reductive and go only so far.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 1, 2007
The picture may look pulpishly provocative, but while Brewer constantly confounded our expectations in Hustle & Flow, this time he barely ruffles our feathers once he establishes his outrageous dime-novel tone.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
March 1, 2007
One day, when he outgrows his terminal adolescence, [director] Brewer might be the perfect filmmaker to tackle Faulkner or Tennessee Williams.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
February 28, 2007
Whatever did the actors see in this pig slop?
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
February 28, 2007
Be prepared to collapse into a hoot and a howl of hilarity at all the wrong moments.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
February 27, 2007
Love lost and found, faith lost and found -- Brewer takes these tried-and-true themes and breathes bold, fresh life into them.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
February 27, 2007
This is a bold follow-up to Hustle and Flow. Would that more filmmakers and actors took these kinds of risks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rob Nelson
Village Voice
February 27, 2007
For God's sake, don't be boring. Alas, after his camera has had its fill of ogling Rae, Brewer turns out to have nothing up his sleeve, nothing in his pants, only a little on his mind and none of it, amazingly, to do with race.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
February 26, 2007
I loved the picture's tabloid energy and heart.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
February 20, 2007
Oh lordy, when the music stops, this movie needs a respirator.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
February 20, 2007
I thought this thing was so bizarre and so strange -- kudos to everybody for going all the way with it.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
January 29, 2007
A well-executed, handsome-looking film that runs perhaps 20 minutes longer than it should given its storyline.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
January 27, 2007
The blues music in Moan is superfine, but my oh my, what to make of the ripe Southern cliches and this absurd story.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 27, 2007
An ingenious and stylish entertainment, Pulp Fiction with a Southern accent and a heart of gold, driven by both love of the Lord and a certain affection for the other fella.