I really hate to even talk about this movie. But I feel the need to make some comments, especially after some of the defensiveness that has arisen in defense of the movie.
Have you seen the ads yet? Woman running in terror, stopped by a chain around her waist, she's is then dragged back into a shack/cabin. That is the big grab. Please, imagine how this can go up from there.
And please, check out the film's website, where they love the image of a chained woman.
Here is the catch phrase after the page loads: "Everything is HOTTER down South." This beside the image of a woman (Christina Ricci) chained on the ground with a man (Samuel L. Jackson) standing over her with chain firmly clenched...What are they selling?
The basic idea in the film is that you have the girl, an abused child who uses sex to hide her pain. And is abused all the more. Then you have the haunted bluesman, who takes it upon himself to save her.
This involves the chains. Preventing her from going out for sex, or escaping his dank domicile. Then he teaches her...about love (the good pure kind). Then, in the end, she marries her dream guy. See chaining women up, praying and lecturing at them, and showing them you care enough to deny them freedom...it real helps a girl. And she will really appreciate. Hey, guys with the blurred sense of reality...that's sarcasm, get real psychiatric help for yourself, and stay away from her...I know.
Here are some thoughts from Feministe:
From the acclaimed misogynist director of Hustle & Flow comes a new movie in which Samuel L. Jackson chains a skeletal Christina Ricci to his radiator and attempts to "cure her of promiscuity." I saw the trailer a few months ago and found it hard to believe. But seeing the film's website, which is up now, I realize they're completely serious. It's not even done in a pulp-y style.
Ricci told MTV her character is "a girl who suffers physical flashbacks to a childhood rape. Some women and young girls freak out, panic, and need to cut themselves. [My character] needs to cause herself the same kind of pain when she has panic attacks by having anonymous sex."
Sounds like being chained up in only her underwear and then preached to is exactly the kind of healing process this character needs.
The creepiest thing about the movie, or at least its marketing, is that it's not only about selling Ricci's body. It's about selling the idea of sex with a girl who's been abused and who's clearly got a lot of problems. There's even an interactive feature (if you click on "experience" in the upper left corner -- click here for a screenshot) that allows you to drag two pills across the screen and then watch a video of Ricci collapsing. Now she's yours for the violating! Plus, the "page loading" graphics that appear every time you click feature her silhouette struggling against the chain. A recurring image in the film as well, I'd imagine.
I'm sure this is going to go over well with the Axe-wearing crowd, but don't you worry, girls! There are also features for you, such as the "Hard Out Here for a Nymph" quiz (screenshot here), which basically glamorizes Ricci's emotionally disturbed, abused, and drug-addled. state. (It's also a nice reference to the hit Oscar-winning song from Hustle & Flow.) If your quiz results prove how slutty you are, the game will tell you "You ain't right yet" - which is apparently Samuel L. Jacksons refrain as he keeps Ricci chained up. Handily, the site also provides you with code so you can embed your "nymph" score in your MySpace page.
Too bad it's a bit late for you to send your special someone an official Black Snake Moan Valentine's Day e-cards, which allows you to upload a photo of yourself so that YOU appear chained to the radiator in a midriff top and cutoffs. Why say "I love you" when you can say: "They say if you love something / you gotta set it free/ but you and I know / that ain't right. / This Valentine's Day / if you love someone / chain 'em up / then they'll know how much / you really care." (I wish I was making this shit up.)
What bugs me more is as some people have complained about the imagery being used to sell this film, an almost naked girl whose chained and being dragged screaming into a shed. So people are countering and claiming racism. Obviously it is the fact that it is the black man, Samuel L. Jackson, dragging a screaming women, chained, into his home that bugs me. Not the whole notion in and of itself. Oh, no. It can't be that. Ridiculous!
But for many this film has caught on. Perhaps their is something to say for the idea it is all allegory, being chained and consumed by your "demons."
But, first selling this on the titillation factor, showing her near naked and being dragged...have I written this enough yet? I won't be writing this anymore, it is getting to me...that imagery that has been put out. It is about the basest of images. They could have focused on atonement or redemption, or the fact it has Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake in it.
Especially in this age we live in it is troubling. In the past few years we have been learning about a number of men, who kidnapped, chained up and kept women as sex slaves, in this country. So they want to go here with their promotions...to what end? Those men had delusions about righteousness, about deserving what they...took. This movie, these bastards, to hades with them.
Like Snakes on a Plane, it will drag some butts to the seats. But propagating this imagery is just crappy.
This whole thing makes me sick and tired...
Just the idea. An abused, mentally troubled girl, being chained, lectured to, and prayed at to set her right...That isn't creepy? That isn't unhinged?