Friday, January 3, 2014

12 Years a Slave Review

Slavery was awful. It's horrible to imagine that people actually treated other human beings like property or livestock. Just plain horrible. I think it's safe to say that all of us have learned about slavery in the United States through our history books and other sources, but witnessing a realistic portrayal of slavery in a movie is definitely a totally different and new experience. The movie is 12 Years a Slave. It's getting a ton of Oscar buzz and is the likely choice for best picture. After going through the experience myself, I would say it's definitely worthy of all the awards it will get. I would recommend this movie to all adults. It's a must see.

12 Years a Slave is the true story of Solomon Northup. His story is an amazing one, but in no good way, as Brad Pitt's character puts in late in the movie. He was born a free man and had a wife and two kids when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. As the movie title suggests, he lived the life of a slave for 12 long years. Being straight up and honest, this movie is very difficult to watch at times. The movie perfectly portrays what life was like back in the day for a slave. They were inspected and sold as property. Once sold, they were treated like livestock or worse. Some of the slave owners were nicer than others, but yet they still were all slave owners. Every day was spent out in the fields picking cotton or doing other chores. If they didn't do a good enough job, they were whipped. The movie shows all this in a very realistic manner. Though hard to watch, it's a movie that I will remember for a long time.

There was a lot of great acting in the movie. Leading the way was Chiwetel Ejiofer as Solomon Northup. As a fellow slave with his master that he's with longest is Lupita Nyong'o. Both of them totally nail their roles as the main slaves focused on. Both deserve Oscar wins. There are several different slave owners focused on in the movie and they are played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Michael Fassbender. It was interesting to see the different personalities of the slave owners. Cumberbatch played a slave owner that treated his slaves with a lot more respect than the others. Dano portrayed a man that was ruthless and unfair, although he wasn't the head owner. Finally, Fassbender plays the slave owner that Solomon ends up with for most of the movie. He's not as crazy as Dano, but he is very tough and strict. All three of these actors do a great job and portraying their different characters. Finally, Brad Pitt shows up towards the end of the movie and does an excellent job in his role, of which I won't give away.

Yes, 12 Years a Slave is a movie that is very hard to watch. But it's a movie that I would consider very important to watch because it gives the audience great insights on the history of the United States. It has a great score, a perfect tone, great cinematography, and A+ performances from everyone all around that all carries the movie. It's nearly perfect all around and left me almost in tears at the end. Like I said, this is a movie I will remember for a long time, so I am awarding it a 10 out of 10.

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