Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci team up for this week's Hidden Gem, in the form of Black Snake Moan and is stylish tale of the unlikely connections that are forged when a lost soul attempts to cure a young nymphomaniac of her wicked ways.
When Lazarus (Jackson), a divorced ex musician, finds Rae (Ricci) unconscious and badly beaten by the side of the road he takes her into his home and chains her to a radiator.
Since Rae's boyfriend Ronnie (Timberlake) left to go to war she has been a wreck and has been taken advantage of by almost every guy in the town.
It appears that Rae has a physical need for sex. As Lazarus watches her twitch in pain trying to get her need under control he sees that he is her only chance of redemption.
Black Snake Moan may have disguised itself as a lusty, sex obsessed movie but actually it's a tale of morality and damaged people who help, and in an odd way, protect each other.
You do have to throw reason an logic out of the window as it is a little bit far fetched. But the audience finds themselves caught up in the movie as it becomes compulsive viewing.
An attachment to the characters, especially Laz and Rae, develops and you just want them to be happy and be at peace with themselves.
Both Jackson and Ricci have taken a chance, and a major risk, especially for Jackson, taking on roles that many other well known actors wouldn't have.
Lazarus lost his passion for music and life when his marriage collapsed, his wife left him for his brother. And Rae was sexually abused as a child she is damaged, vulnerable and angry.
The pair create a great contrast: Jackson's straight, god fearing man to Ricci's out of control, wild child behaviour in a fearless performance from the young and underrated actress.
And Jackson arguably delivers his best performance since Pulp Fiction once again highlighting his versatility as an actor.
Black Snake Moan is deliciously colourful, the film beats with rhythm and dances visually with its subjects. Whether fetishizing Christina Ricci's emaciated body, or making Samuel L. Jackson look years older than he is in real life, it really is a beautiful looking movie.
Director Craig Brewer has produced a great follow up to Hustle and Flow which really depicts well the Bible belt of Southern America as he highlights a hard and gritty Tennessee.
The cast are outstanding, Justin Timberlake being surprisingly good, as Laz shows Rae tough love, but love that she has never experienced before.
Their relationship develops well through the film, and their on screen chemistry dispels any issues of the slightly strange plot, as Laz becomes a father figure to Rae someone she can really trust.
Despite this sleazy and sometimes hard to swallow story Black Snake Moan is an old fashioned morality play that is fascinating and unusually bold.
Female First Helen Earnshaw