Release Date
October 18, 2013
Director
Steve McQueen
Screenplay
John Ridley
Based On The Memoirs By
Solomon Northup
Distributed By
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Budget
$17.1 million
Biography, Drama, History
Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality
133 minutes

12 Years A Slave

There’s no getting around it, “12 Years A Slave” is an intense journey of a free man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1800s. Directed by the ever incredible Steve McQueen (“Hunger”, “Shame”), the film has a rich, emotional foundation that McQueen thrives in, with lingering close-ups and uncomfortably long takes, the cinematography that accompanies his work is always impeccable. What will really cause for jaws to hit the floor are the performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor more than locks an Oscar nomination with the incredible performance as Solomon Northup, the free man turned slave. His inner struggles are projected masterfully on his face and with no wasted lines, everything this man delivers is either powerful or heartbreaking.

Michael Fassbender also gives an award-worthy performance as cotton plantation owner Edwin Epps, who is ruthless with his slaves and sloppy with his drinking. His dark and tortured performance gives you chills and the balance that Fassbender finds with Epps in giving unreserved explosive deliveries mixed with a coy or solicitous demeanor makes this one of the most layered performances of the year. Add in tremendous turns from Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Garrett Dillahunt, who play white men along Solomon’s journey and you not only have the most epic drama of the year but a showcase for all these men. With devastating tones and a white guilt that will be hard to shake, “12 Years A Slave” is by far the most in depth and blatantly truthful depiction of the slavery movement in the 1800s and with a visionary director like Steve McQueen at the helm, it not only becomes an important film but an artful film as well.

 

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