Black Snake Moan

Subscribe to Samuel L Jackson alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd March 2007

Box Office USA: $9.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $9.4M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Paramount Vantage

Production compaines: Paramount Classics

Reviews 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Fresh: 104 Rotten: 53

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: Samuel L. Jackson as Lazarus, Christina Ricci as Rae, Justin Timberlake as Ronnie Morgan, S. Epatha Merkerson as Angela, John Cothran, Jr. as Reverend R. L., David Banner as Tehronne, Michael Raymond-James as Gill, Adriane Lenox as Rose Woods, Kim Richards as Sandy, Neimus K. Williams as Lincoln, Leonard L. Thomas as Deke Woods, Ruby Wilson as Mayella, Claude Phillips as Bojo, Amy Lavere as Jesse, Clare Grant as Kell

Black Snake Moan Movie Review

Such an unfortunate title for this interesting movie about kindred spirits on a slow, low rumble to personal salvation. Yet for Memphis-bred filmmaker Craig Brewer, Black Snake Moan represents more than your conventional character study. It is a suspension bridge stretched over the dreaded sophomore slump that swallows far too many promising young directors these days.

Brewer's debut feature Hustle and Flow took open-minded viewers on a realistic foray into the world of do-it-yourself hip-hop, proving how hard life can be out there for a pimp (unless, of course, you are a member of Three Six Mafia on Oscar night). Moan continues to bathe in Tennessee hardship and failure as it alternately convinces us that life isn't much easier for backwoods Southern skanks and the men they love but who done them wrong.

Lazarus (Samuel L\. Jackson) has just conducted a hurtful, and very public, falling out with his wife, who was cheating on him with his brother. He has nothing to live for until fate guides him to the beaten, broken body of town floozie Rae (Christina Ricci), left for dead on the side of the road. Lazarus asks a few questions of the right people to learn that Rae has a touch of the "sickness" -- abused as a child, she now turns her body over to any man that pays a bit of attention. Blessed with the knowledge, this old blues man makes it his mission to heal Rae's damaged soul.

Lazarus' offbeat intervention is at times sweet but predominantly shocking. His method, lifted straight out of a 1970s pulp magazine, involves a massive chain (with links the size of your fist) and a stubborn radiator. The crux of Moan comes down to a test of wills -- it's like breaking a mule, only the obstinate beast of burden is wearing soiled panties and a T-shirt so far off the shoulder it reveals her gaunt waistline.

Brewer's leads are up to the task at hand. Ricci is virtually unrecognizable save for those trademark saucer-wide eyes. Cat-scratch fever is a difficult sickness to project without overacting: The actress manages dangerous but struggles with sultry, a state of being that's pivotal to the part of Rae. Jackson finds the forceful demeanor of a Baptist preacher, but balances the hysteria when Moan comes close to jumping its rails. Justin Timberlake comes and goes as Rae's true love. He holds his own, but never has to go toe-to-toe with serious actors for too long.

Brewer's films will not appeal to everyone. These stories occupy grimy sections of our Dirty South, where wronged souls go to stay lost. Had Moan been Brewer's first film, I might have dismissed it as exploitative and inaccessible genre scrap that is blessed with powerful performances. But as in Flow, the director exhibits extreme control over his hothouse situations, and finds kindness in the bawdiness of life. His music choice once again enhances the natural atmosphere -- blues, rock, and spirituals for a sweaty, dirty Dixie shoot -- and his camera work mirrors designs by comic and graphic-novel artists. If you hunger for something off the safe, mainstream path, let Moan bewitch you with its unusual healing process.

I said moan, not groan.


Subscribe to Samuel L Jackson alerts


Black Snake Moan Rating

" Excellent "


More Samuel L Jackson

Entourage Trailer

After making a name for themselves in Hollywood, Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends from Queens have finally made a movie. The only problem...

Bastille - Things We Lost In The Fire [Live] Video

Live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta, Bastille perform 'Things We Lost In The Fire', the final single from their debut album...

Bastille - Oblivion [Live] Video

Bastille perform their single 'Oblivion' live on the Honda Stage at Music Midtown in Atlanta. The track followed Platinum hit 'Of The Night' and featured...

HAERTS - Interview Video

Brooklyn band Haerts released their self-titled debut album this year, and here they talk about how they first got into music, their lifelong friendship and...


Mark Ronson - Daffodils ft. Kevin Parker [Audio] Video

Mark Ronson will finally unveil his fourth album 'Uptown Special' on January 26th 2015 through his new label deal with Sony Music. He has teamed...

Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Movin [Live] Video

Meghan Trainor performs her latest single 'Lips Are Movin' at one of her favourite places in the world: an aquarium. The song features, alongside smash...

HAERTS - Be The One [Live] Video

Haerts perform an intimate live rendition of their song 'Be The One', taken from their self-titled debut album released in October 2014 through Columbia Records....

ScHoolboy Q - Hell Of A Night Video

ScHoolboy Q released his first number one with third album 'Oxymoron', and he now unveils the video to its latest single 'Hell Of A Night'...