12 Years A Slave (2013) – Encore Review

“My name is John Tibeats, William Ford’s chief carpenter. You will refer to me as Master. Mister Chapin is the overseer on this plantation. He is responsible for all of Ford’s property. You too will refer to him as Master. This plantation covers many hundreds of acres, and you will traverse the Texas road between the forest site and the sawmill in double time. Any clever n*gger on that path that gets a little light-footed, I will remind him that on one side men and bloodhounds patrol the border and on the other the bayou provides a hard living, with alligators and little to eat or drink that won’t kill you. No slave has escaped here with his life. You’re here to work n*ggers, so let’s commence.’ – Tibeats

Number of Times Seen – 2 (1 Jan 2014 and 5 Aug 2018)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – Based on the true story of a free Black man who was kidnapped and forced to work as a slave in the South during the 1840’s.

My Take on it – This is a spectacular film that is able to tell us such an emotional story that is based on a true event.

Director Steve McQueen doesn’t try and shy away from the brutal depictions in the film and gives us a very realistic “in-your-face” view of life as a slave in the South.

The splits between the North and South were already forming at the time of the events portrayed but it was still more than a decade away from actually bringing the issue of slavery to a halt via bloody battles that pitted brother against brother.

The cats of this film is superb and Chewol Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and Sarah Paulson all give such powerful, emotional and realistic performances.

Nyong’o went on to take home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this performance which is not an easy one to portray.

This film was definitely deserving of winning Best Picture at the Oscars that year despite the fact that Gravity (2013) is an even better film overall, but on an emotional level this one is stronger.

The diverse nature of both films makes it quite hard to decide which is better because they both are amazing and either choice would have been the right one regardless.

Bottom Line – Spectacular film that tells such an emotional story that is based on so much truth. McQueen doesn’t shy away from showing the horrific treatment of slaves at a time when half of the US states favored such behavior while the other half were against it, but felt unable to do anything beyond their own borders. The cast is superb and Ejiofor, Nyong’o, Fassbender, Cumberbatch, Giamatti, Dano and Paulson all give very poignant and emotional performances. Nyong’o definitely deserved her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this very difficult role. This film was definitely a deserving winner of Best Picture at the Oscars despite the fact that Gravity (2013) is a more captivating and an overall better film. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia –  Director Steve McQueen had been toying with the idea of writing a script about slavery, featuring a black man who had been born free and was later forced into slavery, but McQueen was struggling with the script until his wife found Solomon Northup’s biography and gave it to him. Shocked that he had never heard of Northup before, he decided to adapt the book instead. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)


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