Excerpt: While it’s a journey that covers a long period of time, featuring many complex characters and themes, its immense strength is in its harrowing but matter-of-fact documentation of the slave’s day-to-day life, seen exclusively through Solomon’s eyes. With the exception of producer Brad Pitt’s tonally disruptive cameo, this isn’t a movie that editorializes or pontificates; it simply puts the audience on the plantation with all its fear, brutality, and inhumanity.
Excerpt: 12 Years A Slave certainly had a good night at the Oscars this year, taking home 3 awards. It was nominated for even more. Critics seemed to adore the film as well. I can tell you that I enjoyed it more than I expected, but still don’t think its worthy of all the praise. The film tells a long, plodding tale that nearly drowns in repetition. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery for 12 years.
Excerpt: Many films have been made about the experience and lasting impact of American slavery, but none focus on its brutality and inhumanity like director Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave . Based on the 1853 memoir of the same name, it is the story of Solomon Northrup—a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Excerpt: Vomit inducing cruelty is 12 Years a Slave’s hallmark, much as the same with Spielberg’s grueling Schindler’s List . The films are comparable for the repugnant obliviousness shared by their torturers, 12 Years less horrifying if only for its quantifiable body count. Slavery is uncomfortable cinema – it should be. Often, there is a shared naivety toward this historical backdrop.
Conclusion: Although I'm not sure that '12 Years a Slave' is really deserving of its Best Picture honor, I won't deny that it's a well-made and occasionally (although not as often as I hoped) moving examination of the horrors of slavery. The problem here is the first-half of the movie, which is not as engaging as everything that follows later in the film.
Conclusion: 12 Years A Slave is a triumph of filmmaking. Even with my very minor quibbles about the film, there is no denying that this story has been very effectively brought to life in a way that makes in an important viewing experience. While obviously not appropriate for absolutely everyone, it should not be shied away from, just because of the content to be found within it.
Summary: Falling between the twin pillars of the art house and prestige period flick, 12 Years A Slave is history lesson as horror film, powerful, visceral and affecting. And after years of being great in everything, Chiwetel Ejiofor shines in a lead worthy of his immense talent.
Summary: There's a strain of thought that runs through the American body politic that since we are self-evidently "the greatest country on the earth", any perceived "minor" peccadilloes from our nation's past are easily forgotten and/or forgiven. This somewhat odd tendency raises its head most obviously in the treatment of Native Americans and, of course, slavery.
Excerpt: There's a transcendent scene in 12 Years a Slave that corroborates the emotional honesty director Steve McQueen is capable of articulating when he eases up on his fine-art pretenses. Transcendent because it's the one moment in the film where McQueen risks spiritual inquiry, truly opening a window into the soul of his main character, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an African-American free man who, in 1841, was kidnapped from his home in New York and sold into slavery...