12 Years a Slave (2013)

“Now you tell me all is lost. Tell no one who I am, that’s the way to survive? Well, I don’t want to survive. I want to live.”

What’s it about?

12 Years a Slave is based on the horrifying true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The movie follows Solomon enduring brutality and abuse while struggling to survive long enough to find a way to regain his freedom.

Who’s in it?

Chiwetel Ejiofor *checks if that was spelt correctly… yep, got it*, Magneto, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt and enough n-words to give Tarantino a boner.

Why should I watch it?

+ Filled with solid acting by a very talented cast
+ Chiwetel Ejiofor really shines as the lead, his emotions and expressions are on point, shout out to my boy from East London
+ Sad moment when he finally breaks and accepts his role
+ The hanging long take shot was incredibly powerful, don’t leave a guy hanging man
+ Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey, wow.  You really sympathise with her character
+ Solomon’s situation is bad, no arguments there, but I felt even worse for Patsey, she’s basically stuck in a lose-lose situation with no sight of freedom
+ Where’s the Faceless Men to give mercy when you need them?
+ IMO, Michael Fassbender gave his best performance as a ruthless and menacing slave owner
+ This guy is a real piece of work, every time he’s on the screen, you just know something bad is gonna happen
+ Paul Dano stepped up too, his character is one of those guys who get just a little bit of power and ends up abusing it, using it to make themselves look big
+ I really hate those type of people man, you’ll definitely cheer when he gets his comeuppance
+ Benedict Cumberbatch plays a cool slave owner. I mean, as far as slave owners go
+ Adds that good-hearted people were also victims of their situation. I mean, nowhere near as bad as the slaves obviously
+ Doesn’t hold back at showing us the realism of what slaves had to deal with physically and emotionally
+ Fucking tragic how human it is to dehumanise people
+ Treating slaves as objects and properties, measured by how much they can do for them
+Shows how someone’s interpretation of holy books can be dangerous

Why shouldn’t I watch it?

– If you judge people based on the amount of melanin in their skin
– If you’ve started a sentence with “I’m not racist…” Or “I’m not racist but…”
– E.g. I’m not racist, I just like decorating trees with black people
– Also, never get why people try to get someone up by kicking them, seems counterproductive

Anything else?

Honestly, I can normally sit through disgusting scenes or torture scenes (except the eye scene from Hostel) but, holy shit, this movie is difficult to watch at times. It will drain you emotionally and it definitely won’t be one for repeated viewings. I’d love to say that we’ve learned our lesson and we’ve improved as human beings but, apparently, there are more slaves now in the world more than ever. So yeah, we’ll probably see more films like this in the future. Still, it’s a movie that everyone must see.

9/10

You might also like:
Django Unchained
The Butler
Selma

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17 thoughts on “12 Years a Slave (2013)

  1. I saw this movie when it came out (before I started doing movie reviews). I liked it (well-made and well-acted). It was raw and unflinching, but its not a movie that would watch over and over again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is one of those films that you just have to watch, but you probably won’t watch again. Kind of like Schindler’s List. It can be very disturbing, but it’s so powerful and important in American history. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Everyone should definitely watch this, always good to explore our dark past. I still haven’t seen Schindler’s List you know. I’ll add it to the list. Thanks for the reminder!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good review! I like the way you construct your posts! I agree, 12 Years a Slave is a hard film to watch. I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing it a second time. Ejiofor gave a superb performance.

    Liked by 2 people

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