Sometime you see someone in pain and you think you can’t possibly help them, but still you try. “Black Snake Moan” is about broken people. People that life has not been kind to, people on the short end of the stick. It’s a story about intervention, and about trying to anchor someone to an unmovable object, to help save them from themselves.
Many people like this for being an entertaining story of a messed up girl living a crazy life in the deep south. But beneath the surface are many symbols and types waiting to be abstracted in powerful ways. An addiction can stand in for any addiction, and what of the chain and the radiator, and the father figure, and the music? How about the heat and the poverty, and even betrayal? You may not see all this, but every time I watch it, I see more.
Life gets worse and better in increments. Bad decisions accumulate as do good ones. We put weight on one teaspoon at a time, and we slowly slowly turn things around. There is no finish line in this movie, no happy ending with cowboys riding into the sunset, just broken people trying to help each other, and cars slowly drifting left of center, and then back to the right again.
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use.