In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Oh, yay, another slavery movie. If your making a film on this topic, then you have to do it right, and go all out, something 12 Years a Slave certainly does.
This isn’t a pleasant viewing, not at all; but it’s a brilliant one. The fairly simple and formulaic tale is so inspirational and moving; and thrilling from start to finish. To be honest, for a while, you don’t really care for Northup, its what surrounds him and where he goes. It’s a vast story with many powerful moments; and it’s also about far much more than 19th century slavery. It’s about friendship, treachery, bravery and triumph to name a few.
It’s also incredibly brutal. There will be several moments that you will find hard to watch, and one that actually might make you chuckle (thanks to Paul Giamatti), even if it is horrid. This is credit to director Steve McQueen, who manages to make these moments not just there, he makes point of them. The music, editing and the way its slowly shot is wonderfully done by McQueen. When those powerful moments arise, he makes you feel every bit of them.
Chiwetel Ejiofor leads from the front with a magnificent performance, that you can feel throughout the movie. He is then backed up as he goes along by a rich and interesting role played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Then, of course a greatly sickly evil note from Paul Dano. Only to be out-done, by what I think is an underrated performance from Michael Fassbender, who plays a deep and scary villain here. The film also has a very good underlining empathetic role played by Lupita Nyong’o; who lets just say faces the brunt of the uncomfortable scenes. Not to mention Brad Pitt of course, who undoubtedly will be your favourite character within two minutes.
The only problem that I can think of for this film is that towards the middle it does repeat itself slightly, and this subtle change of pace for the film, does knock it for me slightly. However, the movie is still excellent. Your gonna like this film, but your not gonna be happy about it.
A brilliantly powerful yet brutal movie, with an excellent direction and an awesome driving force of a cast. – 5/5
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