Sunday, January 12, 2014

12 Years a Slave (2013): Review

12 Years a Slave is a movie that although very good, you need a strong constitution to watch.  It is based on a book by the same name which is an autobiography published in 1853 by Solomon Northrup.  A born free New York black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  It took him twelve years of living as a slave before he was able to get word to his friends and family in New York and be able to rejoin his life.  This film is a depiction of those twelve years and it does not take any punches in showing the experiences of Solomon during these twelve years.  It shows kidnapping, verbal and physical abuse, whippings, rape, and derogatory language.  
Although this film has an all around fantastic cast, is well acted, and well produced it is hard to watch, especially during the moments of abuse.  So like I said it is not for the faint of heart or people who have difficulty watching these types of movies.  
12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Solomon Northrup who is tricked, kidnapped, and sold into slavery under a different name. He was taken to Louisiana where he was originally sold to William Ford, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and then to Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender. The movie also stars Lupita Nyong'o as fellow slave Patsey, Sarah Paulson as Mistress Epps, and Brad Pitt as Bass.
This movie has a fantastic overall cast and everyone played their characters believable.  The main thing that I struggled with was that at times the story was confusing.  It starts at a point in the middle of the story and then jumps back to the beginning.  This movie encompasses twelve years of time but within the movie there is no sense of how much time has happened between events.  I think just adding a little bit more information or at least putting the dates up on screen to indicate time passing.  There were moments where they did this so it would have gone along with the rest of the film.
You can tell that a lot of work was put into the sets and filming of the movie and everything was well produced.  There were some times that dragged and during these times there was a little obvious emoting from the main actor, which I found a little distracting.  He did a good job but at times, for me the supporting cast helped him along. 
This film was good but it was hard to watch and is not one that I would put on my movie rotation to watch repeatedly.  It is worth watching and I appreciated that it didn't seem to be preachy but just showing what was going on.  Although Solomon struggled to get his freedom back he was seeking only his own rescue.

My Rating: 3

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