Home > Reviews > BLACK SNAKE MOAN – Scott Bomar

BLACK SNAKE MOAN – Scott Bomar

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An extremely peculiar film from Craig Brewer, the director of Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan is a deep-South drama covering topics as diverse as promiscuity, religion, redemption, love, and Blues music. Samuel L. Jackson plays farmer and part-time blues musician Lazarus, who wakes up one morning to find a young woman named Rae (Christina Ricci), badly beaten and unconscious, lying half-naked in his yard. A childhood victim of sexual abuse, Rae had developed into the town tramp, using her sex addiction as a replacement for the love she has never felt in her life. Lazarus, however, seeing a chance to redeem both himself and Rae, takes it upon himself to ‘cure’ Rae of her illness – and proceeds to chain her to the radiator of his remote farmhouse, forcing her to endure sexual cold turkey. And so begins a truly unusual friendship between the pair – and, as always happens in these things, they learn more about life from each other than they ever expected.

As one might expect, the film’s music is heavily rooted in the musical heritage of the deep South, especially that of blues artists such as R.L. Burnside, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House and the North Mississippi Allstars. Jackson performs a number of himself, his distinctive deep voice sounding very authentic when performing tracks like the forlorn “Just Like a Bird Without a Feather”, the rollicking “Alice Mae”, the angry/funny/dirty-sounding “Stack-o-Lee”, and the languorous, eponymous “Black Snake Moan”.

Composer Scott Bomar’s score is limited to just three cues and around 5 minutes in length, comprising mainly blues instrumentals, electric guitars, and ambient electronic textures, although his work arranging the blues tracks heard in the movie is important and impressive in context. Not really one for score fans, but recommended for fans of modern blues.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Opening Theme (0:38)
  • Ain’t But One Kind Of Blues (performed by Son House) (0:12)
  • Just Like A Bird Without A Feather (performed by Samuel L. Jackson) (2:23)
  • When the Lights Go Out (performed by The Black Keys) (3:13)
  • Standing In My Doorway Crying (performed by Jesse Mae Hemphill) (4:40)
  • Chicken Heads (performed by Bobby Rush) (2:23)
  • Black Snake Moan (performed by Samuel L. Jackson) (4:05)
  • Morning Train (performed by Precious Bryant) (3:01)
  • The Losing Kind (performed by John Doe) (2:23)
  • Lord Have Mercy On Me (performed by Outrageous Cherry) (3:05)
  • Ronnie and Rae’s Theme (1:08)
  • The Chain (2:51)
  • Alice Mae (performed by Samuel L. Jackson) (3:48)
  • Stack-o-Lee (performed by Samuel L. Jackson) (3:30)
  • Old Black Mattie (performed by R.L. Burnside) (4:11)
  • That’s Where The Blues Started (performed by Son House) (0:22)
  • Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down (performed by North Mississippi Allstars) (7:32)

Running Time: 49 minutes 35 seconds

New West Records (2007)

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