Imagine being abducted and forced to serve somebody against your own will. Imagine having to call somebody ‘master ‘ in order to keep your life. You can’t? After all, in a democratic country the idea of equal human rights for everybody goes without saying. At least that’s what most of us think.
Based on the memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave gives us a shocking account of the difference between a black man’s life in the North and South of USA at that time. Born as a free man, Solomon leads a normal life in New York – he has a wife and two children, works as a carpenter and plays the fiddle. However, his life is turned upside down when he accepts two men’s offer of a two-week job as a musician; he ends up drugged and in chains, waiting to be sold into slavery. Throughout the film Solomon changes masters and, although he suffers immensely, he’s determined not to give up on his dream of being a free man once again. In the end he’s saved by a Canadian carpenter named Bass, who sends a letter to Solomon’s friends in New York . He actually manages to return home but only to find that his wife has moved on with another man and his children are all grown up.
Aside from the touching story, 12 Years a Slave’s cast is a stand out feature. Director Steve McQueen has brought together names like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giammati and Brad Pitt in supporting roles.
Personally, what struck me most in this film was the great emphasis on emotion. Maybe it’s not the first film touching the theme of slavery in the US, but it certainly is one of the few that’s not just stating the atrocities committed towards the black population, but gives a more thorough insight into the characters’ inner world.
12 Years a Slave certainly provides some food for thought, especially given that it is based on a true story. I always feel a little biased towards such movies – knowing this actually happened to a real person who was supposedly living in a free state, makes you feel as if that same thing could happen to you. If you’re looking for something meaningful to watch, and you appreciate quality drama, then this is certainly a movie for you to watch.
What did you think to 12 Years A Slave? Visual masterpiece or harrowing tale? Let us know in the comments section below