12 Years A Slave—Directed by Steve McQueen/Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt/screenplay written by John Ridley from a first hand account written by freeman, Solomon Northrup/rated R/134 minutes
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR) Let me start out by saying this is not a feel-good film. It is however, a powerful story. If you abhor cruelty and torture, go well armed to this movie. You will need courage just to watch the abominations throughout this film. Performances played by
Lupita Nyong’o, the female slave and Chivetel Ejiofor, the male lead, were riveting.
The supporting roles deserve a nod, as they were well performed. I particularly liked Michael Fassbender in the role of the tormented plantation master. He struggled with good and evil in a most perverse way. I must add, I was also very impressed with the director, Steve McQueen. It was difficult for me to take in all the other fine contributing factors, such as, cinematography, sound and set direction, because the story was so strong, but in hindsight, I recall it was remarkable. The title of this movie and the names of its cast will be heard many times on Oscar night. I must give this film four, resounding binoculars. In fact, because of this film and many recent great productions, I am instituting a binocular change. The range of binoculars will now be set on a scale of one to five. That makes this film a five.
(OG) There are so many good reasons to see this film, I hardly know where to begin…or end. It is never easy to summarize the effects of a creative piece of work, in any medium, but a film can affect us on so many levels, which simply is not possible in almost any other form of expression. That said, I also want to emphasize that sometimes the seemingly simple special effects are the ones that make a film horrifyingly believable. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this film depicts an agonizingly shameful period in our nation’s history, when slavery was accepted by ignorant and selfish U.S. citizens, as lawful and even expected behavior. Slaves were routinely beaten, tortured and treated as animals. When characters in this film are whipped mercilessly, you can actually see the faint cloud of fibers left behind by the lash on human skin. I don’t know how they did that. It was just too real. I could go on about the editing, the directing, the acting, the music, the cinematography, etc., but I will leave it at this: 12 Years A Slave is a story that is unique to filmmaking so far. It is based on the story of a freeman who is kidnapped to the south and forced to live as a slave. If we believe that this is somehow more unfair for Solomon Northrup, because he was kidnapped, then I think we are missing the point of the film and the original book. This is a five more me as well.