12 Years a Slave [Blu-ray]
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12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.
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Graphic and heartbreaking, tells one mans story and what he and his family had gone through when he was kidnapped and forced to work as a slave. The abuse at the hands of their masters was reprehensible and was difficult to view. Also the way women were treated, and raped at the hands of their masters placed a knot in the pit of my stomach.
Excellent portrayal and acting. A must watch, especially for school related projects pertaining to Slavery.
In some ways, it almost reminded me of Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom in how it showed the cruelty humanity can put up with, or even commit, in order to survive. It is just as painful to watch the enslaved Solomon Northup be whipped and beaten as it is to watch him do nothing as the same happens to victims around him.
On a broader level, it’s fascinating how these characters create a sense of order for themselves, in a world so full of cruelty and chaos. Almost everyone speaks in beautiful, nearly-Shakespearean language, heightening the sheer intelligence and thought everyone has put into how they face their often desperate circumstances. Whether Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps practicing horrific cruelty believing such is God’s will, or Chiwetel Ejiofor defending his master William Ford as a good one “under the circumstances,” it’s illuminating to see how these characters warp their realities in order to live through them.
McQueen takes no emotional cheap shots, or force any sentimentality or remorse out of it. Your guttural response is from merely the actions, as the camera is forcing you to witness them for yourself. No artistic work I’ve yet seen shows the condition of slavery as horrifyingly as 12 Years a Slave.
It’s not easy to watch but I’d consider it almost essential viewing. This film is a landmark not only for how neorealistically it approaches its subject matter, but also for its broader and, frankly, disturbing message about humanity.
Top international reviews
I went there in 2002 and predicted he would be Mayor or President. The Apprentice a TV show
It’s a beautiful country that I loved living in for 16 years. I ask myself daily what divides us? We both bleed red blood. However until people are not herded into ghettos, or Conservations, where celebrities are the new ambition for children, not college or school, it’s all about reality shows, Facebook WhatsApp etc. Our world is a sad one. Where Kim Kardashian’s jelly filled backside takes precedence over shootings, wars and famine.
Where we have a corrupt royal family that change the laws so a beautiful kind woman is removed to satisfy the urges of a weak and pathetic future king to pave the way for his mistress to be crowned is considered the norm..
This movie shows how black people were treated bought and sold like items. We don’t think history can repeat itself? It already did with the Holocaust.
It’s a very moving film. It could have been better showing how people were literally treated like animals. How families were divided sold off piece by piece.
I do wish I knew who and where this man was, and was buried. I would hope a monument would be placed there.
It is difficult to imagine a more beautiful and yet horrible film. Hans Zimmer's music is at times subtle and at others provides a menacing undertone to proceedings, and the use of Negro spirituals manages to avoid being a cliche particularly towards the end when Solomon/Platt finally joins in (not a spoiler, but a wonderful, poignant moment).
The scene of violence are uncomfortable but rare, and you'll want to look away but can't. It's important to face up to what happened.
I watched this film a couple of days after the Charleston shootings and the significance was not lost on me. I'm lucky enough to be meeting the director in a day or two and while I won't do the "fanboy" thing, I will shake his hand with honest respect - this is a wonderful artistic achievement and it deserves every bit of praise it gets.
Eliza's despair, Patsey's tortured life and Solomon's reunion with his family after gaining his freedom were for me some very moving parts of the film! With some excellent acting from the cast especially Ejiofor as Solomon, Fassbender as Epps and Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey, I think Steve McQueen has done a great job and this is definitely worth watching.
12 Years a Slave brings it all to life and I didn't realise until I watched the film that there were kidnap gangs operating in the north.
The only thing that lets this film down is the rather odd beginning and the (at times) less-than-clear dialogue. Apart from that, it is a very good film, but be prepared to be shocked by some of the violence.
So why not 5 stars? No spoilers here, suffice to say that I found the ending a little truncated as was the lead in to that ending.
The certificate of 15 I would also say is good in that it will include more viewers but - beware - it isn't for the faint hearted.
However, one star has to go for the curmudgeonly way in which the extras are presented. 7 minutes of what might have been a riveting "making of", and 4 minutes on the musical score...both of which just peter out. What a shame not to have half-hour versions of both plus a historical documentary about Solomon Northrup. Maybe a 2-disc version is needed with PROPER extras! Shame.