Blues On Fire

By tapping the emotional depths of the characters in 'Black Snake Moan,' Craig Brewer brings release and healing

Review A-

March 02, 2007|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

The writer-director of Hustle & Flow, a portrait of an artist as a pimp, goes farther out on a limb in Black Snake Moan, then saws it off behind him and does an exhilarating dance in midair.

Setting a tale of passion and redemption in a small Tennessee town, Craig Brewer pulls off a full-blown folk opera in the idiom of blues. Samuel L. Jackson plays Lazarus, a former blues singer and current farmer who becomes a walking dead man after his wife leaves him for his younger brother. (That's just about the definition of the blues.) Christina Ricci plays Rae, a victim of sexual abuse and emotional neglect who careers against her will into nymphomaniac spells. She has a doozy right after her true love, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), sets out for boot camp.

Black Snake Moan (Paramount Vantage) Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, John Cothran Jr., S. Epatha Merkerson. Directed by Craig Brewer. Rated R. Time 116 minutes.

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