Black Snake Moan (15)

Bible-bashing won't do you any good

Black Snake Moan (116 mins, 15) has one of the most astoundingly lurid and tasteless stories imaginable. It stars Samuel L Jackson as a grizzled, Bible-bashing, Tennessee farmer who finds a boozy, semi-naked nymphomaniac, Christina Ricci, by the side of the road, and then carries her back to his shack, chains her to a radiator, and declares that he's going to cure her of her "wickedness". It's all very promising. Opening with interview footage of Son House, the blues singer, Black Snake Moan aspires to be as wild and torrid as the gutsiest southern blues number. It isn't. Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) establishes that both of his lead characters are mad, bad and dangerous to know, but then he hurries to reassure us that they're actually emotionally scarred, but fundamentally decent people. Just as Ricci's theatrical coughing fits are remedied by a spoonful of TCP, all the darkness in Black Snake Moan is dispelled far too easily. If it starts as a Son House blues howl, it finishes as "The Sun Has Got His Hat On".