Everything you heard about this movie is true. Sometimes, biographies and slavery movies try so hard to draw your empathy they end up using an excessive amount of clichés and cheap attempts of dramatization. But Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave is a masterpiece.
The movie is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography with the same title. Slomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man who is kidnapped and brought back to slavery. Across these 12 years, he’s transported from owner to owner and has to suffer all the horrors of slavery.
12 Years A Slave has all the right elements. Director Steve McQueen did an outstanding job, and along his cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt, managed to capture the era perfectly and turn even the most monstrous scenes into a work of beauty. The ensemble was brilliant, with moving and powerful performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o, and a brilliant Michael Fassbender who played a cruel yet extremely disturbed slaver. In fact, the casting was impressive: you get to see big names play small roles (Brad Pitt for example) that fit them perfectly thus giving the movie more and more value. Also, seeing both Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender in the same movie was delight, them being two of my favorite actors who rose over the last few years.
There’s nothing more I can actually say about 12 Years A Slave except that it is a very powerful movie that hits all the right spots and deserves all the good things said about it. It’s an all-time must watch.