Slate's Dana Stevens has come out with an intriguing review of Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan, attacking the writer/director for setting up his main characters as moral paragons even though they dole out serious abuse to women. Stevens puzzles over Brewer's moral blind spots: how can he let misogynist violence slide, while wrestling with topics like redemption, guilt and self-worth? For those who haven't seen Black Snake Moan, it's the story of a young, white town slut who is raped and left for dead by the side of the road. An aging black loner finds her, takes her home, and promptly ropes her up with a big, clanking chain, which won't be removed until she's 'cured' of her wicked ways.

"What bullshit," is how Stevens starts the critique. "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." She also takes note of the movie's oddest motif -- the fact that Ricci's character is prone to falling-on-the-ground nymphomania fits, symptoms of which are "writhing in panties and scratching at one's thighs."

Stevens goes on to recount how much she hated Hustle & Flow, a film in which the aspiring-rapper hero throws a prostitute and her baby out on the street as punishment for back-talk. "I couldn't have given a shit whether he achieved rap fame or not," she says. Cinematical recently interviewed Brewer, and he seemed carefully prepared to dodge the film's controversial elements. When asked about the nymphomania-fit scenes, he would talk about panic attacks. When asked about the film's black-white tension, he claimed it wasn't a subject that interested him, before opening up a bit. Check out our two reviews of the film here and here.