12 Years a Slave

Every once in a while a film emerges that seemingly everybody loves but me, it’s happened before and I’m sure will happen again, right now that film is Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’. It tells the true story of Solomon Northup a free man abducted and sold into slavery and his harrowing ordeal being passed between masters all the time hoping to get back to his family. As with previous McQueen films it pulls no punches and portrays pretty accurately what Northup went through and while I understand that this film ‘needed to be made’ I just found it boring. The long lingering visceral violence is graphic and the settings are drab and lack the touch of previous McQueen films. The different masters splits the film into sections without any real connection making it feel cobbled together and although everyone acts well no one really seems to shine through with a performance that is noteworthy, except perhaps Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup who does the best he can with what he is given. Maybe this is the kind of film that trimmed of its arty pretentions could be shown to great effect in schools but in a cinema and being beaten to the post by ‘Django Unchained’ it is less entertainment more a long drawn out lecture interspersed with the odd bit of brutal slavery porn.


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