12 Years A Slave

Posted on November 2, 2013


12 Years A Slave –Solomon Northup (Chiwetek Ejiofor) of NY, is an educated, talented musician who is free and black in the 1840s.  He has a wife and two children.  He’s conned by a couple of white men into going to Washington, DC where he’s taken into slavery.  Based on a true story, this is a powerful movie.  Starts out slowly and feels at first like you’re watching a movie rather than watching a story unfold.  Then it gradually builds to where you can feel the humiliation, the degradation this man and other slaves are subjected to.

Over the next 12 years, Solomon is owned by a couple of different masters,  the very worst specimens of humanity and one crueler than the next.  Master Epps, played wonderfully well by Michael Fassbender, is sadistic to a fault.  For instance, he appears to be obsessed with slave Patsy even though he beats her to a pulp.  He then forces Solomon to beat her and you can feel each lash he strikes against her back.

Alfre Woodard plays Mistress Shaw.  She’s a black woman in control who’s learned how to get along by going along.   Directed by Steve McQueen (not the “King of Cool” Steve McQueen, he’s dead) and produced by Brad Pitt, who also has a small role as Bass), this is a much more authentic feeling movie than The Butler.