Ever since it first hit screens at Telluride & Toronto Film Fests last month, the hype surrounding 12 Years a Slave reached soaring heights. Don’t expect the hype to cool anytime soon — it looks poised to run the distance through the awards season — walking away with more than one statue.
Directed by illustrious Brit/Dutch London-born visual artist — Sir Steve McQueen — Knighted OBE AND CBE by the Queen — winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2008 for his film Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike as a first-time Director — the Turner Prize in 1999 (a prestigious annual prize awarded to British visual artists under the age of 50 representing ALL media) — and a 2009 BAFTA for Hunger amongst many other awards — it’s irrefutable that THIS is the movie you need to see this year.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt — 12 Years a Slave is a historical drama based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate Saratoga Springs, New York who is lured to Washington, D.C., kidnapped, and sold into slavery in 1841.
The film takes us on an emotional odyssey where Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, and faces cruelty from slave owner baddie played by Michael Fassbender. The story takes a fateful turn in the 12th year of his capture when Solomon has a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) that forever alters his life.
SPOILER: McQueen boldly shows us the injustice of slavery by depicting disturbingly violent scenes — such as when Solomon is beaten 15 times with a bat before being whipped by his captors.
Slaves are shown being hanged, murdered, lashed — including by each other, on their masters’ orders.
Poignant line by Solomon: “I don’t want to survive. I want to LIVE.”
Reviews so far have been unanimously positive with one astounding message: 12 Years a Slave will be a movie to tango with come award season. Buzzfeed’s Adam Vary called it “most emotionally powerful film I have seen in a decade,” in his initial reaction. “The Oscar race has been pronounced over, six months before the ceremony itself,” writes the Guardian‘s Catherine Shoard. Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman says it’s a “landmark of cruelty and transcendence.”
12 Years a Slave, adapted by John Ridley from Northup’s memoir, and also starring Quvenzhane’ Wallis from “Beast of the Southern Wild”; Paul Dano; Sarah Paulson; Alfre Woodard; Paul Giamatti; and Lupita Nyong’o — opens in US theatres on Oct 18th — bring a tissue.
Here’s a look at the bone-chilling Trailer:
Or watch the full movie here: 12 Years a Slave FULL MOVIE link