Monday, October 21, 2013

12 Years a Slave

Movie Name: 12 Years a Slave
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Lupita Nyong'o, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Batt, Scoot McNairy, Adepero Oduye, J.D. Evermore, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Rob Steinberg, Taran Killam
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

Following the fantastic "Shame", director Steve McQueen is back, with another great film, which focuses it's attention on slavery. "12 Years a Slave" follows the true story of Solomon Northup, a liberated african-american man living in Saratoga, NY with his wife and two children, in the mid 19th century. Following a job offer in Washington, DC, Solomon finds himself kidnapped and sold as a slave in Georgia. Solomon's ordeal, escalates from bad to worse, when he ends up working in a plantation owned by the monstrous Edwin Epps. His only hope is that through some communication with his family in NY, he may end up being liberated.
Steve McQueen is an artist/filmmaker who does not shy away from the monstrosity of human nature. That was present in "Shame" and again makes it's appearance in "12 Years a Slave". The brutality, savagery and humiliation endured by people is depicted in the film in all it's revolting majesty. Unlike other shows and films that tackled slavery as a subject, this film focuses on a man with education, who at the time had to endure punishments and humiliations, in order to regain his liberty (and ultimately survive). The odyssey of Solomon is a testament to the capability of human beings to be resilient in the face or horror and brutality. This is a film that is both graphical in the depiction of the brutality, but also lyrical in the approach that it does to each person's dream of being free. The cast is stupendous, but highlights go to Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong'o and Brad Pitt. The stunning cinematography from Sean Bobbitt should also be highlighted. A wonderful film worth watching!