Film review: 12 Years a Slave

The most remarkable film of 2014?

Most probably.

There’s a lot of buzz about this film, and it’s not difficult to see why.


– It shines yet more light on a dark and largely unspoken area of history.


– It is yet another sign that Steve McQueen is blurring the lines between being an artist and a film maker.
– It is one of the most moving, disturbing films you will ever see.
Those reasons alone will make nearly everyone want to see it, and nearly all will ‘enjoy’ it.
In a nutshell, it’s the story of an educated, ‘free’, black man living in Saratota Springs, New York, in the 1840s. He has a family, a nice home and is an accomplished musician. He is lured to work in another town, kidnapped and taken to be sold into slavery in New Orleans. His captors rename him, pretending he is a missing slave – a shocking practice that was not uncommon at the time. What follows is predictable on a general level in that your know it isn’t going to be a walk in the park, and you know from the title how long this entrapment is gong to last. What you don’t know is the depths he has to go to to survive and the levels to which his new masters sink in the mistaken belief (mainly based on personal profit but also wrapped in misplaced religious beliefs) that they can treat other men as their inferiors.


So far so bad.

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