’12 YEARS A SLAVE’ – Gripped And Shackled With Emotion To The Very End!

By on 10 January, 2014

12 Years A Slave (2014) - Movie Review

I didn’t head to the cinema much over the Festive Period. The last film we watched was the  ‘Hobbit 2‘. I took the opportunity last night to go and see the Cineworld Unlimited Cardholders screening of ‘12 Years A Slave‘. So what better film to start 2014 with!

Based on an incredible true story of a fight for survival and freedom. Its 1841, black man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives as a free man in Saratoga, New York with his wife and two children and earning his living as a violinist. He is asked to play at an out-of-town music gig, he is instead drugged and sold into slavery in the deep south under the name Platt as this is the name on the slave traders papers.

As he sees his fellow man either hanged or chained or knifed for speaking out he decides that the best way to survive is to cooperate.

He makes friends with some other slaves and then they are parted as they go off with their masters. Solomon is bought by Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Appreciating that he has a learned black man, he makes use of his ideas and provides him with a violin as a reward. This doesn’t go down well with one of the Masters Associates John Tibeats (Paul Dano) who decides that Solomon must pay with his flesh. Solomon must be sold off to another master to pay off debt. The new master Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is known for emotional and physical torture to his slaves especially those that don’t pick over 200lbs of Cotton out in the fields.

12 Years A Slave (2014) - Film Review
Solomon finally realises that cooperation can make people jealous and get you into more trouble. Whilst he is in a bad situation, he finds out that others are in much more dire straits, and they will do anything to get themselves out of a life they feel is not worth living.

There are standout performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps and Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey.

My predictions are that Chiwetel will be up for Best Male Actor In A Leading Role at the Oscars and he will sit there alongside Colin Firth for the ‘Railway Man‘ and Tom Hanks as ‘Captain Phillips‘.

Fassbender will definitely get a nod for his portayal of Edwin Epps who is just vile, absolutely vile. Lupita Nyong’o will be up for Best Supporting Actress for sure.

12 Years A Slave (2014) Ejiofor, Fassbender - Movie Review
Don’t go into the cinema thinking you will see something that Hollywood has glossed over. This was made by in part by the UK’s FILM Four and it holds back no punches. The score by Hans Zimmer compliments each scene. Steve McQueen captures the Deep South beautifully on-screen, and really makes you think that you are in 1841 and living the torture with the slaves.

There will be a few scenes of just scenery like birds and trees, and some may not get the symmetry to the story. Birds are free to fly away and go where ever they want and Trees well are where they are planted unless uprooted. It is also to give you time to reflect on what you have just seen on-screen. I would also like to believe that is to make you absorb the scenery and think ‘Ive seen that the other day outside, does this still really happen today and what would I have been liked if that was me’. Would I be able to torture others or hold people captive as slaves?

It’s only January but this will be a tough film to beat to the top of my 2014 film list. It gets 5 stars out of 5 from me. Breathtaking and stunning.

If you are easily offended and you don’t like scenes of violence, people being hanged and tortured then I would suggest that this is not the film for you. This film is very hard-hitting and I would like to know how the special effects team produced those lashes on the backs.

Definitely one to get your snacks and settle down for 134 minutes of great cinema. This film could captivate even the coldest of hearts.

Don’t take my word for it, go see it for yourself. It’s out now!



Review by Mark LEGOBear MacKenzie


About Mark MacKenzie

Mark is known to his friends as LEGOBear. He loves LEGO Star Wars and buildings. He is an avid Movie Fan and has a Cineworld Unlimited Card so watches a lot of the latest releases. He is also a friend of the owner of this site so that is why he has gotten involved.

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