The most meaningfully powerful film of 2013, “12 Years a Slave” is one of the best, and most realistic interpretations of slavery conditions that I have ever laid my eyes on. Though no film could ever capture the the true pain and agony suffered by slaves, this one comes damn close. Based on the true events taken from the 1853 memoir “12 Years a Slave”, by Solomon Northup, this film plays out his remarkable story.
A free man, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) works as a carpenter and fiddle player to support his family. Two men approach Solomon with a job offer that would last for two weeks as a musician. Solomon accepts only to find himself fooled by their trickery, taken captive, and sold into slavery. And just like that, he was torn from his family and the life he once knew.
The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti among many other highly talented actors and actresses.
Evaluation: Let’s start with the music. If you’re a movie buff, then you may have caught on to the fact the theme song is an alteration of the “Inception” (a 2010 science fiction thriller) theme song titled “Time”. This music, by the renowned Hans Zimmer, enhances the movie’s emotion in unspeakable ways. The film in no way rushes through any given scene, and rather moves on once we have fully grasped the maximum amount of emotion that we possible can. It achieves this by showing a continuos shot until we have had more than enough time to take it all in. This gives the movie a sense of discomfort, as we beg from within our own minds for the next scene to “come on already”. And that is precisely the point of such a move. This gives us the smallest, most microscopic feeling of uneasiness compared to that of the slaves, and I can only congratulate the film makers on a job well done in achieving this.
The brutality elicited is nothing short of horrible, but was nonetheless portrayed in the most realistically violent manner possible. The most intense scene was the whipping of a slave girl. From the front we can sense the pain coursing through her body just from her facial expressions and increasingly heart wrenching cries. We can see the mist of blood being drawn from her back with each forceful whip. And from behind, we actually watch each individual, powerfully administered lash, tear right through her skin, weakening her physical state dramatically, and God only knows what kind of psychological damage is being done, for it’s the pain that we can’t visualize that is most likely the worst.
I am incredibly pleased to report however, that after sitting through two hours of slavery hell, the film does have a good and emotional ending. I normally don’t talk much about a film’s ending because I’m not one for spoiling a movie, but this one is just an ending that couldn’t come any sooner. It’s very heartfelt and is likely to create tension in your throat as your emotions adjust to the happy ending of a long and sufferable twelve year period for Solomon.
There is no need to apply a category breakdown for this film because I already know what I’m awarding it. I’m not sure I could ever write a review on a movie that I would more highly recommend seeing than this one. It’s historical reflection of a decent man’s story is truly epic.
Abstract Rating: 100% The second film, out of over 70 blog posts, to receive this perfect score. It certainly deserves the recognition for a job well exceeded.
Thank you everyone for reading. I have attached the trailer below.