12 Years a Slave is the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man, who is captured and sold into slavery. Based off Solomon’s memoir, this film follows Northup from his unlawful kidnapping in Washington, D.C. to his life as a slave working on plantations for 12 years until his release.
12 Years a Slave is the epitome of cinema. It’s more than a film, but it's a piece of art. 12 Years a Slave is an absolutely stunning film that, in my opinion, is headed for Best Picture this year.
Steve McQueen created a film that is breathtaking. I’m a huge fan of Steve McQueen; he is one of my favorite directors. What is consistent throughout all of McQueen’s movies is the raw realism he brings to his stories. McQueen brings the real world to the screen; he doesn’t sugar coat the story of the sake of the audience, but lays it out bear. He doesn’t hide anything or shy away. 12 Years a Slave is no exception to McQueen’s brilliance.
From the opening shot, McQueen's directing grabs and compels you into the story. Lingering pauses force the audience to see and experience these shameful circumstances. Nothing is left to the imagination in this film.
Aside from his glorious storytelling, McQueen made a film that is, frankly, artful. Every frame is a picture, and every movement is imperative. Nothing is underrated with McQueen. He takes special care to make sure everything is significant. Sean Bobbitt’s glorious cinematography helps to transcend McQueen’s vision. Without McQueen’s stunning directing, Solomon’s story would not have gotten the justice it deserves.
Solomon's story is an unflinching brutal reflection on our history. With terms like “mortgage” and “ownership,” you are reminded of the plague slavery was on our society. We can look at William Ford, the “gracious” first owner of Solomon, and say “well, he was kind,” yet we must remember he’s still a slave owner; he still takes part in this sickening and revolting act. John Ridley uses Solomon’s story to show the true brutality of slavery; you can never be a rightful person when you hold the “mortgage” to another human being. Ridley’s script is filled with beautiful language that is performed equally beautifully by the actors. Slavery was a dark spot in our history, and we need to be reminded of our cruelty.
The cast of 12 Years a Slave was outstanding. For a drama of this caliber, skilled actors were needed. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon was phenomenal. He lays himself bare, and connects with the audience. He creates a performance that you are unable to look away from, even in its most distressing moments. He creates strength within Solomon, but doesn’t let us forget the daily torture he is living.
Equally as impressive was Michael Fassbender, as cruel slave owner Edwin Epps, and Lupita Nyong,’o as fellow slave Patsey. Fassbender makes Epps so detestable and hated. He portrays a strong facade, but, with Fassbender’s fantastic acting, you can see the weakness of his character. He is a disgusting man in all ways imaginable. Fassbender gives a superb performance equally on par with Ejiofor. Lupita Nyong’o offers an unquestionably heartbreaking performance as Patsey. It was absolutely devastating to watch her treatment, and you wanted nothing more than the best for her, but knew that was not possible. Nayong’o pulls at the heartstrings of every person in the audience. Every member of the cast was an absolute asset to this fantastic film.
12 Years a Slave is powerful, evoking film with superb directing and acting, as well as a gripping story. I give 12 Years a Slave a 10 out of 10.
Originally Posted on ActorNerdFashionista.blogspot.com on November 11, 2013
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