BLACK SNAKE MOAN
Release Date: March 02, 2007
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina
Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S.
Epatha Merkerson, John
Cothran, and Michael
Runtime: 115 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Director: Craig Brewer
Executive Producer: None
Producer: John Singleton and Stephanie
Writer: Craig Brewer
Address Comments To:John Lesher
A Division of Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 956-2000
Fax: (323) 862-1212
Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, a blues singer turned farmer whose wife has just left him for his own brother. Lazarus tries to convince his wife to go to a local church counselor, but she flatly tells him no, because she doesn't love him anymore.
Christina Ricci plays Rae, an extremely promiscuous young white woman cheating on her boyfriend, Ronnie, who has gone to join the Army. One night, after a stoned orgy with some other guys, Ronnie’s best friend tries to take Rae home. He beats her, however, and leaves her for dead on the side of the road near Lazarus' farm.
The next day, Lazarus finds Rae unconscious and treats her wounds, including a persistent cough. He finds out about Rae's wicked ways and, angered at his wife's own infidelity and Rae's attempts to seduce him, decides to chain Rae up to cure her. Thus begins a stormy relationship that slowly develops into a figurative father-daughter relationship. Eventually, with help from the local black pastor, Rae begins to see the light, and Lazarus realizes he cannot force people to change.
BLACK SNAKE MOAN could have been a more redemptive, though admittedly quirky, drama. In fact, there are some strong Christian scenes involving the friendly, committed black pastor at the local church. Regrettably, however, the filmmakers keep returning to the more salacious aspects of their story. Thus, mixed in with the movie's redemptive, Christian scenes about repentance, salvation and moral change are scenes and images with a very strong sexual nature. Some lingering shots of Rae in her underwear with the chain around her body amount to softcore porn. It’s almost as if the movie is talking out of both sides of its mouth. Also, before the movie comes to its redemptive ending, there is a sequence where Rae goes to hear Lazarus play the blues again at the local juke joint. Lazarus plays one non-offensive song during this sequence, but the sequence also includes lots of suggestive dancing and another, extremely profane song that tells a tale of anger and murder. This uneven tone undercuts the redemptive premise in the final story as well as the movie's entertainment and artistic quality.
BLACK SNAKE MOAN proves that you can’t fix a movie with immoral, salacious content by providing viewers an upbeat, redemptive ending.
BLACK SNAKE MOAN is a wildly uneven, improbable tale. It veers between salacious pagan content, including shots that amount to softcore pornography, to strong Christian content. Eventually, the Christian content wins out, but not before the movie has slaked the viewer's thirst for raw, edgy, vulgar material.