12 years a slave film review

I beg all of you to take your kids, everybody to see it. One sequence in which Northup is strung up like some strange fruit from a tree while life on the plantation ambles on around him achieves a surreal intensity that recalls the haunting poetry of Terrence Malick's existential war movie The Thin Red Line.

Those who fail to meet a daily quota of lbs of cotton are whipped. It is in his eyes another profitable capitalist venture. The true history of the USA is the history of increasingly sophisticated forms of coerced labor. But this is to miss the point of what this film does.

12 Years a Slave – review

Yes, we are a more enlightened nation, for where we once chose our slaves on the basis of melanin levels, we now enslave on the basis of poor choices in pharmaceutical recreation, vague allegations of racist constables, and paid informants.

Beautifully photographed in New Orleans by cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, there are powerful, confronting images, like locked slave facial masks and a severed limb, which are specified but not dwelled upon.

His favourite film directors are Clint Eastwood and Alexander Payne. But more important is the reward of seeing an artist using the medium of film for its highest purposes: You are a prisoner on the planet of the murder monkeys.

There are also moments of stunning natural beauty that would make Terrence Malick proud. A short but captivating appearance by Alfre Woodard as a former slave married to an owner shows Northup the compromises required for long-term survival, as does the moment when he is left choking on a noose while his fellow slaves work calmly in the background, pretending not to notice.

But in this film of titans it's the one you've probably never heard of who perhaps stands above them all.

12 Years a Slave – Film Review

As much as anything, each use of the N-word is another turn of the screw. Instead of taking the easy way out and limiting his exploration of the topic solely to the slaves, Steve McQueen increases the scope and we see how it affects those who profited by it.

Here is the word reconnected to its past, to all its hateful hinterland. The whole sick love triangle between Mr.

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Northup, renamed Platt by a slave trader, is played with unwavering conviction by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. His inner life is a surprising but often bizarre power struggle between himself and his jealous white partner Sarah Paulson. There are horrors aplenty in Steve McQueen’s blistering, cold-eyed epic of slavery.

But amidst the cringe-inducing scenes of torture — it seems wrong to call those bloody assaults just “beatings” or “whippings” — McQueen pinpoints acts of cruelty so casual they almost hurt more.

12 Years a Slave is a pre-American Civil War film that makes us question how we were capable of treating humanity with such disdain and why little has changed. Hollywood tapped into a number of films exploring African American suffering in (Lincoln, Fruitvale Station, The Butler), but this particular film’s examination of violence.

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is the most horrifying film you'll see all year. It's also one of the most beautiful. August 25, | Full Review 96%.

Jan 18,  · Slavery is rightfully considered the darkest mark on America’s year history. It was the issue that defined 19th Century America, and one of many examples in humanity’s narrative of the oppression of one people at the hands of another.

“12 Years a Slave” is. October 12, 12 Years a Slave is that rare film that transcends the hype surrounding it and is the most emotional experience I have had in a theater in some time. Oct 18,  · "12 Years a Slave" is a somber, meditative, almost poetic film that delivers the horrors of bondage stripped down and head-on/5.

12 years a slave film review
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12 Years a Slave – review | Peter Bradshaw | Film | The Guardian