Black Snake Groan

I saw Hustle and Flow, and while I liked, even admired, parts of the film, I could never get over the fact that the movie seemed to simply refuse to interrogate or grapple with its lead character’s misogyny and the problematics of his relationship to the women he pimped. That’s not to say I wanted some kind of judgement from the film of the character, or for him to get some comeuppance, but the movie seemed to think we should be rooting for its lead simply because he was a guy with a dream, I didn’t have any interest in doing that.

So, though I haven’t seen Black Snake Moan, the new film from Hustle and Flow’s writer/director, Dana Stevens’ review seems spot on to me:

I guarantee that the words provocative, bold, and courageous will be bandied about in discussions of this movie, and they won't be entirely misplaced. Writer and director Craig Brewer, who made 2005's Hustle and Flow, has a fine sense of locale (here, the Tennessee countryside), a way of coaxing thrilling performances from actors, and terrific taste in music. But can we just start with something very basic here? Chaining someone to your radiator is wrong. 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. And that obliviousness makes all of the movie's supposed risk-taking seem more like exploitation

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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