Sunday, September 15, 2013

12 Years A Slave

There have been a number of films revolving around slavery and many of them have one thing in common, They're always told from a white man's perspective whether it be the film's protagonist, the film's director or both. There has yet to be a film about slavery told from the eyes of a black person.

Now we have Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, which tells the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. And boy, it's vastly different from any other slavery films. (And, while I'm at it, McQueen's other films.)

How so? Other films about slavery have an empathetic air to them. (This is where I more or less side eye Spielberg.) McQueen, however, forgoes all forms of empathy (as he did with Hunger and Shame) to further the story. (As if empathy would've made this story any rosier.)

And how is this different from McQueen's previous two films? Apart from a different leading man (regular Michael Fassbender got bumped down to supporting), 12 Years A Slave is more of an ensemble piece than a one-man film. I won't mention every actor that appeared, but I do want to highlight the supporting work from Fassbender, Sarah Paulson and Lupita Nyong'o. Along with Ejiofor, you won't forget their performances.

Though I adored Shame more, 12 Years A Slave is a very fine piece of filmmaking from McQueen. Thanks to a combination of McQueen's direction, the ensemble cast led by a brilliant Ejiofor, Sean Bobbitt's cinematography and Hans Zimmer's score, this is a film that will be talked about in the decades to come.

My Rating: *****


  1. Django was a black protagonist. Very different films, of course, but still...

  2. Oh wow I cannot wait for this! Steve McQueen is pretty much my favourite person at the moment. Hunger and Shame were both 5-star films for me, so I have high hopes for this one!


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