Review by Yunda Eddie Feng
Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 5.1 French
Subtitles: Optional English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: audio commentary by director Craig Brewer; “Conflicted:
The Making of Black Snake Moan”; “Rooted in the Blues”;
“The Black Snake Moan”; trailer
Released: 26 June 2007
Film: Like its predecessor, the Sundance hype-magnet Hustle & Flow, Craig Brewer’s new film, Black Snake Moan, comes cloaked in lurid, pulpy atmospherics. His characters — pimps, prostitutes, nymphomaniacs — seem to have crawled off the drugstore paperback racks of the 1950s or the grind house lobby posters of a slightly later era. His stories are slick with the grease of old-style exploitation, promising the sleazy, easy pleasures of lust, wrath and other deadly sins.
Don’t be fooled though. Underneath the surface of racial and sexual button pushing, behind the brandished guns and bared breasts, is a heart of pure, buttery cornpone. Like Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan joins a dubious stereotype of black manhood to an uplifting, sentimental fable.
Hustle & Flow, Craig Brewer’s first feature, had a very small budget and understandably looked rather rough and gritty. This time around, the subject material is still rough and gritty, but Brewer had the advantage of dealing with studio-grade materials. This movie is not even a year old, and it shows. The picture does not have any blemishes, and it boasts very vivid colors. This disc probably has the best video of any HD-DVD that I’ve seen so far.
The movie’s wall-to-wall music gives the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 English track a lot of oomph. Though most of the key sonic action is in the front half of the room, the surrounds are very active.
You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 5.1 French dub. Optional English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.
Director Craig Brewer contributed an audio commentary in which he explains the movie’s origins as well as addresses some of the controversy surrounding the subject matter.
“Conflicted: The Making of Black Snake Moan” is a
run-of-the-mill promotional featurette. “Rooted in the Blues” and “The
Black Snake Moan” explain the sources of the movie’s music. The
experience continues with five deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and the
theatrical trailer in high-definition.
An insert advertises other Paramount HD-DVDs.