12 Years a Slave is a film that is not for the faint of heart and I agree with the many critics out there that this movie is not only a brilliant piece of cinema but it is also essential. Everyone needs to see it. There are not that all many films that depict slavery in the USA and while I did enjoy Django Unchained, this film is 100% true. It’s emotionally moving and powerful.
I have to commend Brad Pitt and his Plan B production company for acquiring the film rights and getting Steve McQueen on board to direct. You won’t find a better director right now than the likes of McQueen, who reunited once more with Shame star Michael Fassbender.
What we have here is the incredible true story of Solomon Northup’s fight for survival and freedom. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Northup and you can give him the Oscar for Best Actor right now. You won’t find a better performance this year.
Taking place from 1841-1853, Northup lives in upstate New York nearly 20 years before the first shots of the Civil War are fired. Soon we find out that Northup was tricked into joining the circus only to be adbducted and sold into slavery. Facing both cruelty and kindness, Solomon struggles to not just stay alive through this time but also retain his dignity in tact.
Through fate, Solomon meets an abolitionist (Brad Pitt) from Canada that alters his life when he promises to send a letter to upstate New York.
John Ridley wrote the screenplay based on the book published in 1853 by Solomon Northup.
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the lead role as Solomon Northup, Sr. Ejiofor, Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard, Chris Chalk, Taran Killam, and Bill Camp star in the film.