Black Snake Moan

  • Directors: Craig Brewer
  • Producers: Stephanie Allain, John Singleton
  • Writers: Craig Brewer
  • Genres: Drama, Music
  • Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S Epatha Merkerson, Michael Raymond James, John Cothran Jr, David Banner, Son House

The film centers around two main characters: Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), a deeply religious farmer and former blues guitarist, and Rae (Christina Ricci), a young nymphomaniac. Lazarus’s wife has left him for his brother, which has left him a bitter and angry man. Rae’s boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) leaves for deployment with the 1960th Field Artillery Brigade, Tennessee National Guard, and in his absence she has bouts of promiscuity and drug use. During one of Rae’s binges, Ronnie’s friend Gill (Michael Raymond-James) tries to take advantage of her. She laughs at his advances, comparing him unfavorably with another man, and he severely beats her. Believing she’s dead, Gill dumps Rae by the side of the road and drives away.

Lazarus discovers Rae in the road the next morning and brings her home to nurse her back to health. Over the course of several days, Rae, delirious with fever, occasionally wakes up and tries to flee from Lazarus. He ties her to the radiator with a heavy chain to keep her from running away. After Rae regains her wits, Lazarus announces that it is his spiritual duty to heal her of her sinful ways and refuses to release her until he does so. Rae makes several attempts to escape, but eventually comes to tolerate her position. Lazarus buys her a proper dress to wear, plays guitar for her, and feeds her home-cooked meals. Lazarus’s pastor and close friend, R.L. (John Cothran Jr.), visits Lazarus at his house and discovers that Lazarus is imprisoning Rae. The pastor tries to reason with Lazarus and the group shares a meal.

In the morning, Lazarus frees Rae, having decided that he has no authority to pass judgment on her. Rae chooses to stay with Lazarus of her own will. Later, Rae and Lazarus take a trip into town, where Rae confronts her mother (Kim Richards) about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother’s partner. Meanwhile, Lazarus has formed a budding romance with the local pharmacist, Angela (S. Epatha Merkerson). He plays a blues concert at a local bar, which Rae attends. Ronnie spots Rae and follows her to Lazarus’s house. He confronts the pair with a pistol, but Lazarus talks him down and summons the pastor. Ronnie and Rae decide that they are stronger together than apart and get married. While driving away, Ronnie suffers a panic attack and Rae begins to break down, but together they overcome their afflictions.

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