12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen is currently earning 95% fresh ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. This new film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti. 12 Years a Slave is a historical film that is based on the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold to slavery for 12 years. This new movie may not be that easy to watch but it definitely grips the hearts of audiences all over. Check out the latest movie review for 12 Years a Slave below:
“12 Years a Slave – A Painful and Yet a Clear-Eyed Feature
We soon discover what this entails, as the slaves take machetes in hand and begin hacking their way through an almost endless expanse of sugar cane; they might as well be trying to empty the ocean using teacups. The physicality of their labor is not merely extreme, it is extravagant. We immediately understand that what we are witnessing is an economy predicated on the idea that human—that is, black—sweat and sinew are not merely cheap resources, but essentially inexhaustible ones, subject to careless squander.
The scene establishes the searing, visceral tone that will characterize director Steve McQueen’s audacious third feature. Moments later we watch as the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), lies awake in a bunkhouse surrounded by fellow slaves. When he turns to the woman next to him, she takes his hand roughly to her breast, and then between her legs, grimacing with joyless urgency before she twists away from him. Day and night, a perpetuity of toil and a pantomime of love—it all comes down to this: to flesh and blood, to individual endurance in a solitary prison of pain.
The film is a true story, based on the 1853 autobiography of Northup, who was a freeman in Saratoga, New York—an upscale husband and father, a gifted violinist—when he was tricked by two white men into visiting Washington, DC, for a series of performances. There, after a fancy dinner with his cultured, collegial hosts, he awakened to find himself manacled in a cell and stripped of his papers. Viciously beaten before being smuggled out of the city by boat—we see a shot of the Capitol dome in the background—he was given the name “Platt,” sold at auction, and sent to work on a series of plantations in Louisiana. His perspective was thus an extraordinary one, experiencing the institution of slavery at once from within and without: enduring its horrors firsthand, yet also as an educated man who had been accepted, even celebrated, among white society in the North.
McQueen’s film is not, however, an intellectual inquiry or an exercise in self-congratulating moral uplift. Rather, it is a blistering portrait of the human capacity for cruelty. It ends “happily,” yes (Northup did, after all, go on to write his memoir), but no conclusion could begin to erase the ordeal that preceded it. I struggle to think of any major film—Schindler’s List, perhaps, or Hotel Rwanda—that has dealt so pitilessly with a horror so vast.”
Click here to read the entire review at The Atlantic.
12 Years a Slave opened in theaters last October 18th 2013. Don’t miss it in cinemas near you!
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