In this article I will continue my in depth review of Mr Craig Brewer’s motion picture Black Snake Moan. In previous articles within this series I have offered my own personal insights as a survivor of chronic childhood abuse resulting in mental health issues including PTSD. This movie portrays, so clearly and honestly, the sometimes resulting behaviors of females who have been victims of chronic childhood abuse, sexual or physical. I immediately connected with this movie. It was almost like a mini-movie of my own young adulthood and quite a few other “girls” I know/knew. Be warned though, there have been warnings out for Military Veterans about watching various titles due to their realism. Well, for those of us who’ve experienced severe or prolonged abuse, this movie has just such a warning. For those who are rejoining the series for the next installment or those who’ve just found us; WELCOME .

This should be a very explosive issue due to the content I will be discussing. We’re examining chapter 3: The House Party continuing to the conclusion of chapter 3. I usually include 2 chapters per article but there has been a lot to cover in this one chapter. Part of the driving force behind my desire to do this review has been due to my concerns about the Haleigh Cummings missing child case from Satsuma, FL. She’s been missing for over 10 months now, without a trace. Some of the people surrounding this case closely resemble in either looks, words, or deeds to characters within this film. One of the first stories we heard about Haleigh’s disappearance had to do with her Father’s live-in girlfriend, later wife & then ex-wife, Misty Croslin. It was rumored, then confirmed that just prior to Haleigh being abducted Misty had attended a 3-day binge drinking/drug/sex party. During those 3 days she was in the company of another man, Greg “White Boy” Page, who seems to somewhat mirror Tehronne if not in looks, then in attitude & reputation.

Chapter 3: House Party Scene:

The scene opens to Rae approaching a house party. She is wearing a pair of jean shorts, t-shirt, and jean jacket. She is quickly joined by two friends, one on either side of her. The friend on her right has long, straight, strawberry blond-ish hair. This girl I can’t help but see a resemblance to Christina “Nay-Nay” Prevatt. The friend on her left has shorter, slightly curly brunette hair. This girl I equate with Amber Brooks, in days past, when she and Misty had been friends. The three together seems to paint a picture of what Misty, Nay-Nay, & Amber must have looked at such parties in their past. The viewer gets a hint at the fact that possibly these girls bait each other into bad behavior. Notice how the “Amber-esque” friend, Jess, baits Rae with “It’s not like you’re married, He ain’t even proposed yet.” To me there seemed to be an underling current of jealousy in that statement. I’ve seen it personally in the past. A so-called friend pushes anothers buttons to suit their own hidden agenda(s). I would expect a real friend to say something like “Don’t worry, He’ll be back soon” or  some reassuring statement. Immediately Rae responds with ” He don’t give a sh*t about me!” This is a real phenomenon. Once confronted with the pain of Ronnie’s departure and their lack of any real commitment, Rae emotionally distances herself from that pain. She is also dismissing her own actions with Tehronne as OK or not being “bad” since he doesn’t really care about her. She tells herself and others that what they have isn’t real or it’s meaningless. This also helps to distance her from what she will likely do in the future. The girl that steps out in front of them and vomits, to me, is a symbol of several things. Obviously the first being alcohol and drug abuse, but underlining those is also these emotionally damaged people who turn up at these parties  (and elsewhere) and proceed to become intoxicated to the point of literal poisoning.

“According to a research done just in the United States of America, each year around 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported, and once a week a person dies because of this condition.”    &   “In 2002, U.S. alcoholism statistics reported that 2.6 million binge drinkers were between the ages of 12 and 17.”                                          http://www.alcohol-information.com/Alcohol_Statistics.html

As I watch this party scene, it reminds me of my own youth due to how realistic it all seems. I half-expect to see a younger version of myself round a corner and come into camera view. Rae is wrestling inside with her feelings of abandonment since Ronnie’s departure. It’s painful for her both emotionally and physically. We get another insight into Rae’s state of health with coughing spurts. One could assume Bronchitis or Pneumonia. We are re-assured in our thinking that Rae is possibly too sick to even be at a party when her friend Jess asks her if she’d like to go home. Rae insists that she is fine and she wants to stay.  They are approached by a “street pharmacist” who offers them “DMX, Oxycontin, Coricidin, or pot.” He says to them “Coricidin, in case you want to get all out-of-body.” Jess replies laughingly “Coricidin, you just want to get me out of my clothes!”

Rae at first refuses the drugs. She’s just there so she doesn’t have to be alone. She just gonna have fun and be “good”. She looks over to see Ronnie’s best friend Gil. She goes over to speak with him. She states “I’m just out with friends, no harm there right?” Where upon he replies rather nastily. “What? You think I’m Ronnie’s spy or something?” He also baits her with “By tomorrow, he’s gonna have so much going on he’s not gonna have time to think about you.” He almost seems to push her buttons knowingly. Even upon my first viewing, I could swear he’s intentionally upsetting her, as if he knows where it will all end later. Rae returns to Jess and the “pusher”. She asks “How much to get me f*cked up?” This line speaks volumes to me. It tells of her need to escape. Once again confronted with the pain of Ronnie being gone and her entire reality she needs to escape the here and now, her past, her recent actions, and quite possibly her own dismal, self-imposed future.  We see a man’s palm with two pills pass to rae’s. One of the pills being a blue Oxycontin. Then she is handed 2 more pills, one being Coricidin. Rae slugs them back with a chaser of beer. As she stands there suddenly everything kind of turns blue. We are aware that Rae is very intoxicated at this point when she “nest-tea plunges backwards off of the porch. During the commentary of Mr. Brewer, he explains that why he himself has not used Oxy’s, he has know people who have and that very frequently they say that “everything looks a little blue”, hence the blueish tint through-out the rest of this chapter.

I wanted to include, at this point, some information about the drugs mentioned and self medication:

http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/facts/drugs-otc.aspx# (DMX, CORICIDIN)

http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/facts/drugs-prescription-otc.aspx# (OXYCONTIN)

http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/facts/drugs-marijuana.aspx# (Marijuana)

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Self-medicating
self-medication
n.
Medication of oneself without professional supervision so as to alleviate an illness or a condition.

The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

http://ptsd.about.com/od/relatedconditions/a/selfmedication.htm

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Connection-Between-Panic-and-Anxiety-and-Self-Medicating&id=1031557

We again see Lazarus as he is throwing Rose’s discarded items into black trash bags. Meaningless items, much like he feels. He clearly is also intoxicated from drink, but not necessarily self-destructive. He pulls out his guitar case from under the bed. It’s a piece of himself, he had lost touch with long ago. He’d packed it away, along with his “Jukin” lifestyle in order to be a good husband. Now we see him putting his married part away as he starts to once again play & sing the Blues. I wanted to make a special mention that Mr Jackson learned how to play guitar, specifically Blues guitar, especially for this role. I think he does an amazing job! As Laz plays and sing we flash back to a very intoxicated Rae.

She, her 2 friends, and 3 guys are playing what looks to be a game of strip touch-football. To most viewers this may seem an extreme exaggeration but let me assure you from both myself and Mr. Brewer’s commentary, this type of stuff does go on. This wild, outlandish behavior that not only seems to ask for trouble but screams for it. We are not introduced to the guys implying their anonymity in Rae’s life. Just guys she knows or maybe even doesn’t know at all. Rae braces herself for a second against the truck, against the sick, against the truth. Reality once again starts to intrude. Just then one of the unknown males approaches and distracts her. This to me is key. She ALLOWS this distraction, even half-welcomes it. It helps to hold reality at bay even when all the drinking & drugs couldn’t. During that brief scene a lot more is told then one might realize. The way Rae rolls her eyes back as she is pulled to the ground is what I’d like to think of as a result of a combination of things. 1) Her intoxication level reaching pass-out or unconsciousness. (How much harder it would be to fight off an assault in this state).  2) Her eye roll also seems to indicate “Oh, here I go again”, disbelief and/or disgust. 3) Her acquiescence to the fact that, in her reality, that is what ALL men want anyway.  In the “date-rape” scene take notice of Rae’s unresponsiveness. The male finishes and jumps up to run away with the others leaving her there naked and nearly unconscious. He clearly doesn’t care if others come along after him to use her defenseless body. This further makes me feel that he is unknown to her or at least he has no regard for her. We flash back to Lazarus as he himself passes out from the pain of reality and drink.

As we flash back to Rae, we see things as if from her drunken, intoxicated perspective. There seems to be a blue haze and things are slightly askew. She calls out stumbling after her friends, calling out to Jess as they drive away. It is my opinion that their willingness to leave her there; alone, naked, unconscious, that and everything since the start of the film serves to show that Rae IS alone in this world. Most especially since Ronnie is gone.  Ronnie has left, her mother is “gone” to her, Tehronne has no real interest or emotional investment in her, now even her BFFs have abandoned her showing us how utterly alone she really is. Was this how Misty Croslin felt during that weekend prior to Feb 09, 09? On a side note here I would like to mention that that particular weekend added to Misty’s background makes one almost wonder was Haleigh’s disappearance orchestrated in order to put National spotlights onto Ron and Misty, making them the villains?  It almost seems likely that someone wanted us to associate Misty with this movie and then villainize her. JMO

As Rae chases after her friends Gil, Ronnie’s BFF, arrives on scene. Rae is now clothed only in a set of football shoulder pads and a pair of white panties. Her t-shirt is in her hand. She’s so out of it she asks him to help “take these off”, talking about the shoulder pads that she can’t seem to remove herself. He takes them off of her and she puts her t back on. He offers to drive her home. The viewer thinks, “whew, at least someone is gonna help this poor girl” or “He’s not doing it for her, he’s doing it for Ronnie”. We see them driving then Gil stops the truck on a dark, deserted, dirt road. He mentions her missing shorts and she replies weakly “I’ve got others.” To me, this implies that she’s been here before, she’s unconcerned.

Gil says to her “This thing you got, I’ve heard people say you’d f*ck a tree if it was handy. I can see that, but that (N-word) Tehronne? He thinks he’s a player cause he hustles dope and stolen hubcaps, but that piece of sh*t?”

These words tell us that he, like so many others around her know she’s having problems with mental illness issues. He not only is aware but uses it to his own advantage.
Rae says, “I begged him not to go, but he went. I begged him”

Gil replies angrily “I’ll bet you begged that (N-word), didn’t you?” He then grabs her legs and pulls them up onto the truck seat roughly. She acts a little bothered by this but not very concerned. Gil starts to unbuckle his belt and jeans when Rae starts laughing. He defensively looks at her and demands to know “what she’s laughing about!” She answers “You ain’t got half of what Tehronne’s got, not half.” and kind of giggles. Gil explodes into rage at being negatively compared to someone he considers to be inferior. He strikes Rae, punching her in the face. As the camera angle changes we see several more punches thrown into Rae before he stops. Once he’s calmed down some he insists that she “wake up, wake the h*ll up!” When she doesn’t he decides what to do. We see the passenger door open and Rae get literally kicked out of the truck, head-first onto the red clay road and screeches away. It is a very dramatic scene. Mr Brewer mention that the reason he chose to only show us 1 actual punch to Rae was that he didn’t think we needed to actually see every blow to get the point. He also goes on to mention the stunt double who actually took that fall, head-first out of a truck and onto a hard, cold, dirt road. While, I did not take note on her name, I do appreciate her effort to make this so life-like and real for us.

As Rae lies there already sick, beaten, drunken and alone we hear her watch start to beep. It is the first time it has beeped since Ronnie’s departure. We then see Ronnie on an airplane being awakened by his neighboring soldier telling him about his watch beeping. We see him listen for just a few seconds then he turns it off and goes back to sleep.

This concludes Chapter 3 of the DVD. I hope that the readers have already been able to walk away with  greater knowledge and insight into these issues and how they may relate to you or someone you know. When one takes a closer look into self-destructive behavior, we can see that there are usually deep-seated issues at the root of them. While the movie, BSM, has not yet given us access to Rae’s issues or roots to them, we do start to realize that there is definitely something “wrong” with her. My in-depth analysis will continue in the next segment. I will be covering chapters 4 & 5. I hope you choose to continue the journey.

Lesa

This movie can be purchased at:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=DVD+Black+snake+moan

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