Friday, November 8, 2013

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Director: Steve McQueen. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhané Wallis. 134 min. Rated R. USA/UK. Biography/Drama/History.

I almost gave this a NoMo. The next-to-nothing story is summarized in its title, it's way too long, and I couldn't wait for it to end. But then, 24 hours has passed ... and it keeps bothering me. An image of the lynched black hero, while child slaves play ignorantly and gleefully in the background. A whipping scene that's so devastating, you want to look away. An ending image of Ejiofor, gazing at you, burning right through you. This movie does for slavery what Schindler's List did for the Holocaust. This is not a fun movie to watch. It hurts bad.

PS #1: Hunger, Shame, and now this. Steve McQueen is making a career out of disturbing films looking into the dark corners of the human soul.

PS #2: And Paul Dano has made a career out of playing the most "punchable" characters in Hollywood.

Mo says:


  1. I didn't feel your first experience. It was too impressive. I think when a director like Steve Mcqueen makes such a grief for slavery it shows how deep is pain and rooted inside of African-American people including a filmmaker . He paid his debt to his ascendants. The same for Spielberg by making Schindler list. Through the movie I constantly enjoyed the touching music of Hans Zimmer , wonderful performance for first and supporting roles. I guess it will nominee & win a number of Oscars. High probably : Chiwetel Ejiofor is in the list and Micheal Fassebender as well .How ca he be such an ultra villain?! Agree about Paul Dono , although his performance in "There will be blood "was fantastic and more tough .

    1. I noticed the Zimmer's soundtrack was very to what he wrote for "Inception", to the extent that I guessed it was his even before the end credits rolled and I saw his name.

      In addition to Ejiofor, I'm expecting an Oscar nomination for the black female - the whipping scene still makes me shudder to this day.