Black Snake Moan

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Writer/director Craig Brewer follows up his Sundance hit Hustle & Flow with another pulsing journey into the heart of a southern musician. This time he taps into the essence of the blues to concoct an intoxicating tale of a man hell-bent on saving a lost soul, and in the process, himself.

In a small Tennessee town, two unlikely souls meet at the sticky crossroads between rage and love. Lying beaten on the side of the road is Rae, who has developed a reputation for an insatiable "itch" for sex. Her rescuer is Lazarus, an ex-blues guitarist who is used to life's relentless refrains of trouble and sorrow. Desperate for a change himself, Lazarus goes to extremes to "cure" Rae of her wicked ways. But to get to the deep, dark bottom of Rae's problems, Lazarus has to face the demons in both their hearts.

Brewer is a virtuoso at blending music into his films. They pulsate with the beats and rhythms of pain, love, sex, death, and life. Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson engage in a brave on-screen duet of charged emotions and intense physicality. All this combines with rousing imagery that both titillates and challenges to help Black Snake Moan unfold a raw and revealing morality tale that doesn't deal in black and white but rather transcendent shades of blue.

— Trevor Groth

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