Friday, March 02, 2007

Reviews of Black Snake Moan

John Beifuss of the CA and Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer have a couple of the smartest reviews you read on Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan" -- not only for their observations of the film, but of their assessments of how critics elsewhere see this movie and the South in general.

Excerpt from Beifuss:

Many of the critical nay-sayers are decrying what they perceive to be sexist and racist stereotypes in the film, but there's an element of regional condescension at work that impedes serious analysis. Apparently, you can mock the South with impunity, as long as you're claiming to defend it.

Perhaps it's true that Southerners are among those most likely to be embarrassed by the white trash/black bluesman conventions embraced in "Black Snake Moan." Yet Southerners also are the biggest fans of extreme, even cartoonish depictions of their behavior. Often, the impulses co-exist: I'm sure I'm not alone among Memphians in thinking the world would be a lesser place without either William Faulkner or Jethro Bodine.

What a mess of contradiction! But do we really want it any other way?

... and from Herrington:

When you make a movie about a white "nymphomaniac" chained to the radiator of a black bluesman's farmhouse, suffuse it with humor, and pitch it as a straightforward entertainment set in a world that sometimes feels as slightly exaggerated as a live-action Disney feature, perhaps you should expect critics to get a little discombobulated.

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