Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender
Director: Steve McQueen
Running Time: 134 mins
12 Years A Slave is an American film that follows the extraordinary true story of Solomon Northup, a free man who is kidnapped from his life in New York, and sold into the brutal world of slavery in the Deep South.
From a historical point of view, this film is incredible to watch. A fascinating story that grabs you from the start, and shows you throughout how truly terrifying the life of a slave can be.
From a dramatic eye, the film is still fantastic, with the character of Solomon being a perfect protagonist to will on throughout, however I felt that the pace of this film was extremely slow, disappointing me a little.
The story of Solomon’s horrific ordeal in slavery is told beautifully in this film, and it shows vividly the true cruelty that slaves had to endure in this time of injustice, and also demonstrates how the relationships between slaves and their masters could be so frictional, which was an incredibly fascinating angle to look at.
The film is such an education to watch throughout, and it really gives you a clear idea of the time, serving its purpose perfectly. Also, this story touches upon the individual and personal effects of being enslaved, especially in such an extraordinary way as Solomon’s kidnapping, which adds to the horror and emotion of the story greatly.
On the other side of things, I felt that this film really does drag on a bit. It’s not that there were unnecessary parts in the story, I felt that it was all vital to telling the story as well as it did, but for that small fraction of entertainment that I desired from this film, even though it is obviously intended to educate, it didn’t perform.
Chiwetel Ejiofor also gave a sterling performance as Solomon Northup, managing to subtly convey the inner anguish of this man, even though he may seem tough on the outside. Michael Fassbender and Paul Dano, two brutal slave owners, were also fantastic in this film, once again adding to the horror of this story.
Overall, I’ll give this an 8.0, because although it was probably the slowest-paced film I’ve ever seen, I thought the story was excellently told, and it was a fascinating education into this difficult topic.