Saturday, November 2, 2013

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

It seems as if  slave tales have been told from every imaginable angle, but the story of Solomon Northrup as told in 12 Years a Slave sheds a slightly different slant by being told from the perspective of someone who actually experienced it firsthand.

12 Years a Slave is candid look at the life of a Black man born free in the north, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery after importing slaves from other countries had been outlawed in the United States. 

Solomon Northrup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) is an affluent man with a wife and two children, and lives in upstate New York.  After accepting a generous offer of employment from two seemingly established businessmen, Northrup finds himself in chains after being drugged at dinner.  From there he is shipped to the south to embark upon what can only be described as the most horrifying 12 years that one could imagine.

The poignant portrayal of racism, brutality and the utter lack of regard for human life that was shown in this film did much to remind viewers of the not-so-far-in-the-past ideologies that this country was built upon.  It is also a stark reminder of what Blacks had to endure amidst their ever present struggle to not only survive in a system that was designed to keep them in bondage, but also obtain their basic rights as human beings.

As a viewer, I could appreciate the depth and strength of Northrup's character as played by Ejiofor because I was truly drawn into his performance, as well as those of the supporting cast. Without a doubt you will hate who you are supposed to hate, feel compassion and cheer heartily for all those you are supposed to in this movie, as you will no doubt experience a wide range of emotion throughout the two and a half hour time span.

Of course Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard and all the other big names that you're used to seeing did their thing, but honorable mention and kudos go to Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Patsy, a young slave girl who is plagued with the position of being the object of her master's fancy.  This young lady was a standout performance and I really hope to see more from her in the future.

Though many cringe when previews for movies in this genre hit the media circuit, I personally believe that these stories do much to remind us how far we've come as African-Americans, how much we have to be grateful for, and why we should never EVER take the liberties that many fought and died for for granted. All in all, I give 12 Years a Slave an enthusiastic 10 spirit-fingers and encourage everyone to go support it at the theater.

Till next time!

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