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Black Snake Moan (2006)

 -  Drama  -  2 March 2007 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 47,772 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 194 user | 200 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

A God-fearing bluesman takes to a wild young woman who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rae
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Neimus K. Williams ...
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Ruby Wilson ...
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Amy Lavere ...
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Storyline

In rural Mississippi, Lazarus, a former blues musician who survives by truck farming, finds a young girl nearly beaten to death near his home. She's the white-trash town tramp, molded by a life of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and verbal abuse from her mother, who seems to delight in reminding Rae of her mistake in not aborting her. Lazarus, who is also facing personal crisis at the dissolution of his marriage, nurses Rae back to health, providing her with gentle, fatherly advice as well as an education in blues music. Rae's boyfriend, Ronnie, goaded by the man who nearly beat Rae to death, misunderstands the relationship between Lazarus and Rae, and vows to kill him. Lazarus, exhibiting a street-smart understanding of violence and its motives, calls Ronnie's bluff, senses that he is as troubled as Rae, and becomes a guiding force in the young couple's resurrection. Written by Joe Jurca

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything is hotter down south. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

2 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A lánc  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,143,199 (USA) (2 March 2007)

Gross:

$9,396,487 (USA) (18 May 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christina Ricci wore an actual forty pound chain during filming. Craig Brewer brought various different chains on the set and told Ricci to choose the one that suited her best. See more »

Goofs

Ronnie's American Flag patch on the right sleeve of his BDU shirt before he leaves appears to be backwards. However, this is in accordance with Army regulations that call for the flag to appear as if the wearer was advancing toward the battle; if the flag was reversed, it would appear that the colors were retreating. The unusual layout is due to the requirement to wear the flag on the right sleeve - the position of honor on the US Army uniform. See more »

Quotes

Rae: Why you old men gotta talk so much? You gotta talk yourself into fucking me? Like little boys. It's okay. I'm grown, I know. We can go slow.
[beat]
Rae: You gonna give me another bath?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Office: Happy Hour (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

This Little Light Of Mine
Traditional, arranged by Alvin Youngblood Hart
Performed by Christina Ricci and Alvin Youngblood Hart
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User Reviews

 
Bold Bite
3 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you've been looking for a film where a out of control nympho gets chained to a radiator by an extremely religious southern man then look no further than Paramount Vantage's latest release 'Black Snake Moan'. Not exactly looking for what I just described you say? Well then, you best get ya wits 'bout yaself and mosey on down to your local theater and still see it as Samuel L. Jackson's character Lazarus would say. As long as you're open minded and don't take everything seriously, there's no reason you won't leave the theater glad you saw it.

In the third offering from director Craig Brewer, we are taken into the deep south where as the tagline to the film claims, everything is hotter. While there we're introduced to the Godfearing bluesman, Lazarus as previously said played by Jackson, and the almost always half naked Rae; a role bravely taken on by Christina Ricci. In the film this unlikely pair cross paths long enough for their characters to each learn a lesson from one another. Both lessons ultimately convey the message to us the audience that no matter what, we are all human. No one is perfect and if everyone would realize that, then we'd be a lot better off. The question of if this will be understood, or be accepted by all who see the film is another story.

One thing not up for debate is how great Jackson and Ricci both are here. You'd think with the role of a sex-crazed woman, overacting would be a given, but no, not here. Ricci breaks through and demonstrates true talent with a raw performance that also doubles as her best to date. Then we have Jackson who completely disappears and for the first time in a long time makes us forget who he even is. Sadly, the third star of the film, Justin Timberlake who plays Rae's military-bound boyfriend isn't all that great. At the start, he fails miserably as he appears to be trying too hard. Later on he steps it up some, still he's far from the level he reached in January's 'Alpha Dog'.

The other thing 'Black Snake Moan' boasts is a splendid soundtrack. Containing tracks from The Black Keys, John Doe, pieces from the score done by Scott Bomar, & of course four, count 'em, four tracks from Jackson himself. It's actually one of his songs, the main performance of the film, 'Stackolee' that is the fuel to the fire of this great collection. It alone is worth the ticket price. Other notable musical delights from the soundtrack are Bomar's 'The Chain', 'When the Lights Go Out' from the Black Keys, & the title track which is also among the most memorable scenes in the film where Lazarus sings to Rae on a stormy night.

The efforts of Craig Brewer can't go without mention though. His last film 'Hustle & Flow' which ended up surpassing low expectations and gaining critical acclaim put him on the map. What he has done with 'Black Snake Moan' will be what sets him apart from other newbies to the industry. He not only directed 'Moan', but also wrote its screenplay. The end result is a story that is surprising and clever. As you watch you feel like you know exactly where it's headed despite its valiant composure. Just as you think you've predicted the next move Brewer shifts gears and takes an entirely different route. There are however some blotches within the screenplay. The background characters are drab and flat while the ending is somewhat disappointing. It left me craving for something more exciting. After so many highs I guess the final scenes were a tad weak compared to the rest of the film.

I imagine the majority of people who see 'Black Snake Moan' won't enjoy it due to the fact they won't be able to stop themselves from thinking how unlikely the situations are. The depressing part about that is there are many other films with just as unlikely, even more outrageous scenarios that are widely well received. It's the issues of race, religious motives, & sexuality the film exhibits that will have more effect on opinion than anything. The idea of a black man chaining a white woman up in his house is enough to make most people not even consider seeing it. Simply put, it's not for everyone. Like I said, to fully enjoy it you have to go in with an open mind, or else you're just wasting your money. For those of you who can do that, I highly recommend it.


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