We are off to a great cinematic start to the new year. 12 Years a Slave was brought to me by the Number 87 bus last Thursday when I wondered what I should watch over the weekend (these are the hard questions we are faced with, these are the days of our lives…).
Sensing my question, the right side of the Number 87 bus was painted with this:
12 Years a Slave charts the journey of Solomon Northup, a free man who is abducted, given a different name and sold into the world of slavery. It is a true story.
The bus also advertised this as the best movie ever made.
I wouldn’t go that far. But it is good and , primarily, it is extremely uncomfortable to watch. Solomon is passed from one owner to the next, finally landing with Michael Fassbender who plays his character so well that I found it very difficult to like him as a person when it ended.
Steve McQueen manages to direct the movie without lecturing you about the topic. He tells the story bluntly and without apology, often focusing on little details to convey the ludicracy of the situation. Take a look at this snapshot for example:
A final plus for me was the lack of any sort of motivational speech towards the end. The movie just ends, leaving you feeling utterly depressed. For this all, I give it a 5 out of 5 !