Samuel L. Jackson as Lazarus
Christina Ricci as Rae
Justin Timberlake as Ronnie
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
Commentary by Writer / Director Craig Brewer
“Conflicted: The Making of Black Snake Moan”
“Rooted in the Blues”
“The Black Snake Moan”
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 115 Minutes
The following is from the official DVD description:
“When ex-blues musician Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) finds the town nymphomaniac Rae (Christina Ricci) left for dead on the side of the road, he vows to nurse her back to health…and cure her of her wickedness. Until then, she’ll be chained to the immovable radiator in his home. But Lazarus has demons of his own: his wife just left him for his own brother. While Lazarus and Rae struggle to fix their broken lives, the situation threatens to explode as Rae’s boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) – a roughneck soldier just back from Iraq – comes searching for his missing lover.”
“Black Snake Moan” is rated R for strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use.
“Black Snake Moan” is about as weird as its title. In fact, it’s almost like two different films stuck together for one feature. The first half is a dark, sexual drama. Lazarus loses his wife and comes close to killing his brother. Rae runs around mostly naked and has sex with anything that moves. But after the two meet up, it switches gears. It becomes a film about redemption and forgiveness and Lazarus and Rae end up having a father / daughter relationship. Along the way the two characters’ torment is depicted through gritty music, bizarre sound effects, and sometimes laughable overly dramatic moments. Overall, there was enough bad to offset any good that “Black Snake Moan” had to offer, so I didn’t care for it.
As I mentioned, there were some good aspects to the film. If you’re a fan of Samuel L. Jackson or Christina Ricci, you’ll probably like their performances. Their characters are tortured souls, so naturally they get to stretch their acting legs while putting themselves through hell. “Black Snake Moan” also has a fantastic blues soundtrack. I enjoy that style of music, so I was into the musical numbers more than I was the story. I also found the story to mostly be predictable, but the ending not so predictable. The way the movie is so dark and depressing, I was expecting something completely different from how it ended. The film certainly wins points for zigging when I expected it to zag.
The DVD has some fairly substantial bonus features. Kicking things off is your usual commentary by Writer / Director Craig Brewer. It is followed by “Conflicted: The Making of Black Snake Moan”. It is 27 minutes long and is your usual ‘making of’ fare. The most interesting thing to me was that Brewer gave Ricci her own choice of chains just how George Lucas gave Jackson his own choice of lightsabers. Next up is “Rooted in the Blues”, a 12 minute featurette showcasing the music of the film. You see Jackson and the other musicians performing the music from the film. “The Black Snake Moan” is 9 minutes long and goes in depth about the scene where Rae and Lazarus bond over the song “Black Snake Moan”. Rounding things out is 12 minutes of Deleted Scenes. Notable among them is a scene where Lazarus discovers that his ex-wife is pregnant with his brother’s child. Another scene shows how Ricci and Justin Timberlake’s characters met and bonded .while she peed. A final deleted scene shows Lazarus professing his love for Angela.