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) will forever alter his life.
The movie is like Django Unchained without the fantasy revenge. The movie is filled with excellent scenes like the one where Solomon finds himself chained and is whipped badly for claiming to be a free man. The scene where a woman and her kids are separated due to their being sold to different slave owners is heart rending. The scene where Solomon starts whipping up the racist carpenter Tibeats is worth rooting for. The scene where Epps asks Solomon to whip Patsey, a female slave, and then starts whipping her himself is the most violent or disturbing scene of the movie.
The movie is pretty faithful to the true story but some small changes have been made. Link. The Mistress Shaw scene which the director invented for the movie looked totally unnecessary. The woman making Solomon pleasure her did not belong in the movie. While the movie is about him being a slave for 12 years it doesn’t feel like that in the movie. It feels like a few months or a year as people around hardly change at all.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is very good as the free man who is kidnapped and sold off as a slave. Michael Fassbender is excellent as the cruel slave owner who is sexually abusing Patsey. He will definitely be nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and he will most probably win. Lupita Nyong’o is excellent as Patsey and she should get nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Sarah Paulson is very good as Epps’s wife who is jealous of her husband’s attention towards Pasty and who herself abuses Patsy. Paul Dano is very good as the racist Tibeats. Benedict Cumberbatch is good as the benevolent slave owner. Brad Pitt has a small cameo as the Canadian who helps Solomon.
Steve McQueen’s direction is very good for the most part except for the flaws mentioned above. The movie will most probably be nominated for Oscars in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay categories. If the movie doesn’t win Oscars in the main categories it will be because of it being similar to Django Unchained which released last year. The movie has a very powerful subject and it does not shy away from showing how horrible slavery was with all the physical and sexual abuse. The movie is recommended only for those who can stomach the violent disturbing scenes.Tags: Benedict Cumberbatch Brad Pitt Chiwetel Ejiofor Exclusive Lupita Nyong'o Member Reviews Michael Fassbender Movies You Watched This Month Reviews Steve McQueen