12 Years a Slave (2013) Poster

12 Years a Slave (2013)

  • Rate: 7.7/10 total 1,395 votes
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | History
  • Release Date: 31 October 2013 (Germany)
  • Runtime: 133 min
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12 Years a Slave (2013)


12 Years a Slave (2013) Story: In the pre-Civil Battle United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a cost-free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and offered into slavery. Dealing with cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, depicted by Michael Fassbender), as well as unforeseen kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to remain alive, but to maintain his dignity.

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  • IMDb page: 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • Rate: 7.7/10 total 1,395 votes
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | History
  • Release Date: 31 October 2013 (Germany)
  • Runtime: 133 min
  • Filming Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  • Director: Steve McQueen
  • Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams, Michael Fassbender | See full cast and crew »
  • Original Music By: Hans Zimmer
  • Soundtrack: Awake On Foreign Shores
  • Sound Mix: Dolby
  • Plot Keyword: Slavery | New York | Sold Into Slavery | Abolitionist | Slave Owner

Writing Credits By:

  • John Ridley (screenplay by)
  • Solomon Northup (based on “Twelve Years a Slave” by)

Known Trivia

  • This is the third film collaboration of Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. They previously both appeared in Inglourious Basterds and will appear in The Counselor later this year. 2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • This movie marks the reuniting of Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis, both from Louisiana, where the film was shot, who had been acclaimed just months before for their first acting roles when they costarred in Beasts of the Southern Wild. 1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Taran Killam often impersonates Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live. Though both actors appear in this film, they never met nor worked together in it. Pitt’s Plan B company produced the movie, and Pitt’s role was only a small one. 1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • Of the seven titles directed by Steve McQueen through July 2013, this movie is the first which does not have a one-word title. 1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? YesNo |
  • This purported nonfiction story, based on a memoir written in 1853, was also the source for the 1984 made-for-TV movie, American Playhouse: Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, which starred Avery Brooks. Is this interesting? Interesting? YesNo |

Plot: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Full summary » |  »

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Dede Gardner known as producer
  • Anthony Katagas known as producer
  • Jeremy Kleiner known as producer
  • Steve McQueen known as producer
  • Arnon Milchan known as producer
  • Brad Pitt known as producer
  • Bill Pohlad known as producer
  • John Ridley known as executive producer
  • Tessa Ross known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor known as Solomon Northup
  • Dwight Henry known as Uncle Abram
  • Dickie Gravois known as Overseer
  • Bryan Batt known as Judge Turner
  • Ashley Dyke known as Anna
  • Kelsey Scott known as Anne Northup
  • Quvenzhané Wallis known as Margaret Northup
  • Cameron Zeigler known as Alonzo Northup
  • Tony Bentley known as Mr. Moon
  • Scoot McNairy known as Brown
  • Taran Killam known as Hamilton
  • Christopher Berry known as Burch
  • Bill Camp known as Radburn
  • Mister Mackey Jr. known as Randall
  • Chris Chalk known as Clemens
  • Craig Tate known as John
  • Adepero Oduye known as Eliza
  • Storm Reid known as Emily
  • Tom Proctor known as Biddee
  • Marc Macaulay known as Captain
  • Vivian Fleming-Alvarez known as Mulatto Woman
  • Michael K. Williams known as Robert (as Michael Kenneth Williams)
  • Douglas M. Griffin known as Sailor
  • John McConnell known as Jonus Ray
  • Marcus Lyle Brown known as Jasper
  • Richard Holden known as Fitzgerald
  • Rob Steinberg known as Parker
  • Paul Giamatti known as Freeman
  • Anwan Glover known as Cape
  • Benedict Cumberbatch known as Ford
  • James C. Victor known as Buyer (as J.C. Victor)
  • Liza J. Bennett known as Mistress Ford
  • Nicole Collins known as Rachel
  • J.D. Evermore known as Chapin
  • Paul Dano known as Tibeats
  • Michael Fassbender known as Edwin Epps
  • Sarah Paulson known as Mistress Epps
  • Lupita Nyong’o known as Patsey
  • Andy Dylan known as Treach
  • Deneen Tyler known as Phebe
  • Mustafa Harris known as Sam
  • Gregory Bright known as Edward
  • Austin Purnell known as Bob
  • Thomas Francis Murphy known as Patroller
  • Andre De’Sean Shanks known as Victim #1 (as Andre Shanks)
  • Kelvin Harrison known as Victim #2 (as Kelvin Harrison)
  • Scott Michael Jefferson known as Master Shaw (as Scott M. Jefferson)
  • Alfre Woodard known as Mistress Shaw
  • Isaiah Jackson known as Zachary
  • Garret Dillahunt known as Armsby
  • Topsy Chapman known as Slave Spiritual Singer #1
  • Devin Maurice Evans known as Slave Spiritual Singer #2
  • Brad Pitt known as Bass
  • Jay Huguley known as Sheriff
  • Devyn A. Tyler known as Margaret Northup (adult)
  • Willo Jean-Baptiste known as Margaret’s Husband
  • Jason Ament known as Cooke (uncredited)
  • Jon Arthur known as Steamboat Crew 1st Mate (uncredited)
  • Sean Paul Braud known as Lynchman (uncredited)
  • Blake Burt known as Upper Class Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Carroll Burt known as Lower Class Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Joseph Randy Causin known as Steamboat Crew (uncredited)
  • Haylie Creppel known as Child in the Park (uncredited)
  • Gio Dangadze known as Mickey (uncredited)
  • Justin Edward Davis known as Saratoga Park Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Jim Gunter known as Steamboat Crew 2nd Mate (uncredited)
  • Emily D. Haley known as Tea Seller (uncredited)
  • Jim Johnson known as Lower Class Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Mark Joyce known as Street Merchant (uncredited)
  • John C. Klein known as Lumber Mill Customer (uncredited)
  • Cynthia LeBlanc known as Washington D.C. Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Elton LeBlanc known as Hotel Dining Patron (uncredited)
  • Gerard ‘Jerry’ Lewis known as Slave Guard (uncredited)
  • Kevonte Mcdonald known as Slave (uncredited)
  • Ritchie Montgomery known as Roadman (uncredited)
  • Myesha-Tiara known as Edwin Epps’s Slave (uncredited)
  • Ruth Negga known as Celeste (uncredited)
  • Jason Owen known as Safty (uncredited)
  • Shawn Parsons known as Road Man (uncredited)
  • Haley Powell known as Slave Girl (uncredited)
  • Wayne Pére known as Winslow (uncredited)
  • Erin Rementer known as Ballroom Dancer (uncredited)
  • Andre Robinson known as Slave boy (uncredited)
  • Corrina Roshea known as Slave buyer (uncredited)
  • Jarett Shorts known as Hornboy (uncredited)
  • Chaz Smith known as Cigar Smoker (uncredited)
  • Tyler Soerries known as Boy playing in park (uncredited)
  • Tre Tureaud known as Saratoga Park Pedestrians (uncredited)
  • Justin Christopher Vaughn known as Ezra (uncredited)
  • Bob Walker known as Abolitionist Landowner (uncredited)
  • Caroline Grace Williamson known as Ford Daughter (uncredited)
  • Alicia Michelle Winters known as Ford’s Older Daughter (uncredited)
  • Timothy Wyant known as Ford Lumber Buyer (uncredited)
  • Rosé Belara Young known as Lethe (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:

  • Ma Kalaadevi Ananda known as makeup department head
  • Ma Kalaadevi Ananda known as makeup designer
  • Ma Kalaadevi Ananda known as special makeup effects artist
  • Gloria Belz known as additional makeup artist
  • Nikki I Brown known as makeup artist
  • Nana Fischer known as hair and makeup designer for Michael Fassbender
  • Nana Fischer known as personal makeup artist to Michael Fassbender
  • Marcos Gonzales known as hair additional
  • LaToya Henderson known as makeup artist
  • Stacey Herbert known as makeup artist
  • Jack Lazzaro known as makeup artist
  • Adruitha Lee known as department head hair
  • Adruitha Lee known as wigs/hair designer
  • Nick London known as key makeup artist
  • Yolanda Mercadel known as hair stylist
  • Caitlin Murphy Miles known as makeup artist
  • Erin Moreau known as additional hairstylist
  • Kat Percy known as hair stylist (as Katherine G. Percy)
  • LeDiedra Richard-Baldwin known as makeup artist
  • Cynthia Welcome known as assistant hair stylist
  • Amy Wood known as key hair stylist
  • Rena Grady known as personal makeup artist: Brad Pitt (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Jason Allard known as propmaker foreman
  • Michael Arena known as greensman
  • Melanie Aymami known as painter
  • Brian Babineaux known as painter
  • Jill Broadfoot known as set decoration buyer
  • David Henry Buck known as construction foreman
  • William Burck known as set dresser
  • Doug Cluff known as charge scenic artist
  • Carl Counts known as art department coordinator
  • Will Eastin known as graphic designer
  • Jude Erny known as sign painter
  • Brian Freeman known as carpenter
  • Matthew Gatlin known as set designer
  • Paul Giglione known as painter
  • Michael A. Johnson known as leadman
  • Billy ‘Jilly Bones’ Jones known as scenic artist
  • Joie Todd Kerns known as set dresser
  • Daniel E. Kiker known as painter
  • Thomas Knight known as set dresser
  • Heather Korman known as property assistant
  • Kevin C. Lang known as set dresser
  • Erik Malkovich known as set dresser
  • Michael S. Martin known as property master
  • Wesley McMurrian known as set dresser
  • Dudley Merritt known as construction foreman
  • Robert J. Moore Jr. known as set dresser
  • Siobhan O’Brien known as set dresser
  • Marybeth O’Connor known as set dresser
  • Jared Pendergrass known as additional property
  • Alixandra Petrovich known as on set dresser
  • Brad Quintana known as painter
  • David Rotondo known as construction coordinator
  • Walter Schneider known as set designer
  • Tom Sola known as general foreman
  • Carl Sprague known as concept illustrator
  • Victoria St. Pierre known as on set painter
  • Gordon Thomas known as set dresser
  • Erik van Haaren known as carpenter
  • Leia Verner known as art department assistant
  • Jim Wallis known as set designer
  • Taylor Weeks known as scenic foreman
  • Stephanie Wittmann known as art department assistant




Production Companies:

  • Regency Enterprises (presents) (A Film by Steve McQueen)
  • River Road Entertainment (presents)
  • Plan B Entertainment (as Plan B)
  • New Regency Pictures (as New Regency)
  • Film4 (in association with)
  • Regency Enterprises

Other Companies:

  • ARRI / Camera Service Center  camera equipment provided by
  • American Roadshow Motion Picture And Television Catering  catering company (Reshoots)
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera dollies
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  hydrascope telescoping crane arm
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  remote camera systems
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  stabilized remote camera systems
  • Cineworks Digital Studios  digital dailies and grading
  • Cineworks Digital Studios  hd telecine dailies transfer
  • Cineworks Digital Studios  internet dailies
  • Company 3  digital intermediate
  • De Lane Lea  ADR recording
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • Event Restroom  restrooms
  • Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman & Machtinger  production legal
  • Hollywood Trucks  entertainment transportation
  • Light Stepper Service  vehicle fleet maintenance
  • Method Design  end crawl
  • New Regency Pictures  funding
  • Silver Screen Supply  location equipment/rentals
  • Silver Screen Supply  production supplies
  • Sky Media Travel  travel agent
  • Video Ninjas  video assist
  • Wildfire Studios  Editorial Facility
  • Wildfire Studios  post-production facilities
  • Wildfire Studios  post-production sound services


  • 20th Century Fox (2013) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (2013) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures (2013) (USA) (theatrical) (all media)
  • Independent Films (2014) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Mars Distribution (2014) (France) (theatrical)
  • Pro Video Film & Distribution Kft. (2014) (Hungary) (theatrical)
  • TOBIS Film (2013) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2014) (USA) (DVD)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (2014) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • DeA Planeta Home Entertainment (2013) (Spain) (all media)
  • Mongkol Major (2013) (Thailand) (all media)
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (2013) (worldwide) (all media)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Crafty Apes
  • Wildfire Visual Effects

Visual Effects by:

  • Anthony S. Castro known as digital compositor: matte painter
  • Andrey Drogobetski known as lead compositor
  • Victor Manuel Fernandez known as compositor
  • Rocco Gioffre known as lead matte artist
  • Elbert Irving IV known as visual effects coordinator: Wildfire VFX
  • Chris LeDoux known as digital effects supervisor: Crafty Apes
  • Katie McCall known as visual effects coordinator: Wildfire VFX
  • Lauren Ritchie known as visual effects producer: Wildfire VFX
  • Dottie Starling known as visual effects supervisor: Wildfire VFX
  • Andrew Stillinger known as digital compositor

MPAA: Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on October 20, 2013 by Dian Herlianto in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. Tania Morissette from Canada
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    I attended the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the TorontoInternational Film Festival. Having no tickets, we had to wait close to4 hours hoping they might let us in. I have to say it was definitelyworth the wait and it is hands down the best film I've seen at thefestival.

    The film is based on the real story of Solomon Northup (played byChiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man living in New York, who is abductedand sold into slavery in Louisiana. As the film begins, we are exposedto his talent as a musician (he plays the violin) and get a glimpse ofthe life he leads with his wife and two children. All is well until hemeets two men who seem taken by his music and want to bring him alongwith them so he can play at various events. When Solomon wakes up inchains, his dark journey starts and the film never lets you take abreak.

    If you've seen McQueen's other works then you more or less know whatkind of movie to expect (if you haven't then please stop reading andwatch Hunger and Shame). 12 Years a Slave is dark and raw, it exposeseverything, without sugarcoating it. It is definitely hard to watch;Several people walked out of the the theatre but in my opinion, it isnot only worth watching but necessary. Films exploring themes ofslavery are few and far in between and never has one been quite asexhaustive and effective as this one. Beautifully shot and edited, thefilm features moments of tension, heartbreak and a few laughs here andthere. Steve McQueen has created another masterpiece.

    Most actors get very little screen time. Paul Giamatti and SarahPaulson are seen for a few minutes but both are great as usual.Benedict Cumberbatch plays a plantation owner, who recognizes Solomon'stalent and tries to help him to a certain extent. Despite being aslaver, he is presented in the film as being a good man. Cumberbatchwas very good, though outshined by far by Michael Fassbender. He goesthrough every emotion and gives it his everything. In my opinion, thisis his best performance to date. Paul Dano gets a few minutes of screentime as well but makes incredible use of it. As Benedict's worker, hedespises slaves and the songs he sings to Solomon makes an incrediblypowerful scene, one of the most disturbing in the film. LupitaNyong'o's first appearance in a feature film is stunning, as she playsa heart breaking young slave. I hope she has a long career ahead ofher, she certainly has the talent for it. The true star is definitelyChiwetel Ejiofor. His performance as Solomon is stunning andunforgettable, I truly hope he wins the Oscar for it this year.

    All in all, if you get a chance to see 12 Years a Slave, don't miss it.Not everyone will be able to stomach it but it's an outstanding filmthat deserves and needs to be seen.

  2. Clayton Davis (Claytondavis@awardscircuit.com) from New Jersey
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    Read More @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com)

    One of the things that have been thrown around for months now is thenotion that awards season voting bodies won't respond to it becauseit's too "difficult" to sit through. Let's define difficult, shall we?Is it difficult to see the first openly gay politician gunned down byhis closeted colleague? Is it difficult to see a reformed convict putto death by our country for his crimes? Is it difficult to see a motherchoose which one of her children dies during the Holocaust? I'd arguethat these answers add up to a resounding yes. Yet, no one threw thosephrases of "too difficult" around.

    I've watched hundreds of films throughout my short 29-year history andI've seen some difficult cinema. Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List"can make anyone quiver in shame as it shows the despicable reality ofthe Holocaust. Paul Greengrass' "United 93", which is almost anemotional biopic of America's darkest hour, makes me want to crawl upinto a ball and cry. And finally, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of theChrist", one of the highest grossing films of all-time, shows the laborof our sins fleshed out into the beaten skin of an honest man. Andstill, no one threw these hyperbolic terms out saying, "it's too hardwatch." Is it because this is an American tragedy, done by Americans?Is it the guilt of someone's ancestors manifesting it in your tearducts? I can't answer that. Only the person who says it can. Thestructure of this country is built on the backs and blood of slaves.But slavery didn't just exist in America, it was everywhere. It washorrifying what occurred for over 200 years and believe it or not,still exists in some parts of the world TODAY.

    Now when approaching the powerful film by McQueen and distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures, there is a resounding honesty that McQueenand screenwriter John Ridley inhabit. There are no tricks or gimmicks,no cheap takes on a side story or character that is put there for timefilling or a life-lesson for Solomon to learn. Everything is genuine.Is the film heartbreaking? Oh my God yes. Did I cry for several minutesafter the screening? Embarrassingly so. I was enamored the entire time,head to toe, moment to moment.

    I have long admired the talent that's been evident in the works ofChiwetel Ejiofor. I've known he was capable of what he has accomplishedas Solomon Northup and he hits it out of the park. He has the urgency,worry, and drive to get home to his family and executes every emotionflawlessly even when all hope seems to be lost. Where he shinesincredibly are the small nuances that he takes as the story slows down,you notice aspects of Solomon that make him even more believable.

    As Edwin Epps, Solomon's last owner, Michael Fassbender digs down deepinto some evil territory. Acts as the "Amon Goeth" of our tale, he isexactly what you'd expect a person who believes this should be a way oflife to behave. He's vile and strikes fear into not only the people heinteracts with but with the viewers who watch. As Mrs. Epps, SarahPaulson is just as wretched. Abusive, conniving, entitled, and I lovedevery second of her.

    Mark my words; Lupita Nyong'o is the emotional epicenter of the entirefilm. The heartache, tears, and anger that will grow inside during thefeature will have our beautiful "Patsey" at the core. She is the greatfind of our film year and will surely go on to more dynamic andpassionate projects in the future. You're watching the birth of a star.

    Hans Zimmer puts forth a very pronounced score, enriched with all thesubtle ticks that strike the chords of tone. One thing that cannot bedenied is the exquisite camera work of Sean Bobbit. Weaving through theparts of boat and then through the grassroots of a cotton field, heputs himself in the leagues of Roger Deakins and Seamus McGarvey as oneof the most innovative and exciting DP's in the business. Especiallyfollowing his work in "The Place Beyond the Pines" earlier this year.Simply marvelous.

    Oscar chances, since I know many of you are wondering. Put the Oscar'sin my hands, you have a dozen nominations reap for the taking. BestPicture, Director, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, dual SupportingActresses, Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Cinematography,Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score.There's also a strong and rich sound scope that is present. The soundsof nature as the slaves walk or as Solomon approaches his master'shouse is noticed. The big question is, can it win? I haven't seeneverything yet so I cannot yet if it deserves it or not. I can say, ifcritics and audiences can get off this "difficult" watch nonsense andaccept the cinematic endeavor as a look into our own history as toldfrom a great auteur, there's no reason it can't top the night. I'm veryaware that seeing this film along with Steve McQueen crowned by Oscaris nearly erasing 85 years of history in the Academy. Are they willingand ready to begin looking into new realms and allowing someone notnecessarily in their inner circles to make a bold statement as McQueenand Ridley take in "12 Years a Slave?" I remain hopeful.

  3. tigerfish50 from Old London, New England
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    Considering the social and economic importance of slavery in America'shistory, the scarcity of serious films depicting the daily life ofslaves in the Confederate States is significant – especially since theafter-effects from this shameful episode still echo through theculture. '12 Years a Slave' is based upon the memoirs of SolomonNorthup, who endured a hellish period of enslavement in Louisiana,which is backed up by legal records.

    The story begins with him living with wife and children in upstate NewYork as a free man and respected member of his community. After beinglured to Washington by a couple of con-artists who promised him work,he was subsequently drugged, locked in chains, viciously beaten,stripped of his identity and shipped to New Orleans to be sold intoslavery. Over the next twelve years, he was owned by two men whotreated him in contrasting ways. The first was a relatively civilizedfellow, but the plantation's half-witted manager was threatened byNorthup's superior intelligence. Their mutual dislike produced adangerously volatile situation, and unwilling to lose his investment,Northup's owner re-sold him to a neighbor. This unbalanced individualregarded his slaves as property to be used for pleasure and profit,which caused them to live in perpetual fear that his capricious moodswould flare into sadistic lust or rage at any moment.

    It's noteworthy that a British director has become one of the fewfilmmakers to delve deeply into this subject, and the combination ofJohn Ridley's powerful script and McQueen's directorial skills hasinspired exceptional performances from the entire cast. Theirdramatization of Northup's experiences is both riveting anduncomfortable to watch, as the film depicts the perverse nature of asociety that permitted such a barbaric system. Hopefully it will reacha large US audience, who will learn how a privileged Southern elitecruelly exploited their fellow humans in order to acquire greaterwealth for themselves.

  4. Helen from New York
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    One of our partners was invited to TIFF for the premiere of Life ofCrime so I was lucky to be able to tag along with him and watch thesetwo great films along with The Lunchbox. I didn't initially even thinkof writing a review because I would hate to discuss something that themajority of the public hasn't seen yet because public opinion would belimited. But, seeing the reviews that some have published has pushed meto write a review of my own.

    In the beginning, the movie moves semi fast as far as getting into thecentral plot but not too fast that you don't get the opportunity toassess the characters. In fact, by the time Solomon (Ejiofor) is soldinto slavery, in my opinion, his demeanor, education, and his familyare established enough for you to invest enough emotion into him thatby the end of the film you care enough about him to wonder if he andhis family will ever be reunited.

    I don't understand how someone can say that they were bored becausethey are desensitized by the beatings and tortures that AfricanAmerican slaves endured during that dark time. Odd analogy but, I criedat the end the movie Titanic not because I was unaware of the fact thatthe ship would sink and eventually be the demise of thousands of peoplebut because the story telling grasped my attention and pulled at myheart strings. Same case with 12 Years. Yes, you know Solomon alongwith the other unfortunate souls will endure physical and emotionalpain and you might be well familiar with the tools and methods theyaccomplished this with but it makes it no less shocking, sad, orimportant. I wonder if this person saw the same movie that I saw, if atall, because without spoiling too much of the movie, there is a torturescene in which the camera not only zooms into what's occurring but italso seems to last forever to the point where I was so uncomfortablethat I wanted the scene to end. McQueen does this throughout this film(along with many of his other films), his scenes make you uncomfortablemostly because his camera lingers on scenes that are very hard towatch.

    Surprisingly, the only time I got teary eyed was in a funeral scenewhere Ejiofor's acting shines and mostly with facial expressions (andsome singing) you realize that he's finally succumbed to his situationversus how in the beginning he emotionally fought his sudden twist offate. As far as the other actors, much has been said about Fassbanderand Nyong'o's superior acting, rightly so, but I found myself beingreally impressed with Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Dano'sperformances. Hopefully, we can all agree that Fassbander's character,Edwin Epps, is that of a tyrant and just an awful human being. Someonelike that is easy to assess but Cumberbatch's William Ford is morecomplex. He's a slave owner yet he treats his slaves humanely, to anextent he cares about them but he definitely puts his and his families'interest above all, and although he doesn't partake in the beatings hesure doesn't interfere with the process. He makes you ask yourself ifneutral people like him are good or bad for progress. I still don'tknow the answer to that. Paul Dano plays John Tibeats and his characteris cruel and has horrible mood swings. The way he was played, Iwondered if the person the character was based on had a mentaldisorder. He's uneducated (almost slow), not even respected within hispeers, and overall just a loser. Not to make excuses for him but howcould someone with those defects possibly be kind to another humanbeing let alone a human who was considered inferior throughout thattime. He too makes me question the hardships that other people, otherthan slaves, were going through during that time.

    Overall, this film had a great narrative, strong performances from theentire cast, and I would definitely recommend this film. I do have twocomplaints, though. I too felt that the ending was a bit abrupt. In allfairness, I'm not sure what kind of closure I was expecting but I feltlike much was left unsaid. My biggest gripe of all has to be thetorture scene I mentioned above in which Patsey (Nyong'o) yellssomething to Solomon and it just had John Ridley's over the top stylewritten all over it. According to Solomon Northup's biography thisexchange did not happen so why did Ridley feel the need to add such adramatic statement? What was the need to create sexual(?) tensionbetween Patsey and Solomon's character? The same could be said about aspeech Solomon gives in the film. That too was fiction and notrealistic but I guess they did that to emphasize on their message onhope.

  5. hal9341 from London, United Kingdom
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    I just saw this at LFF. It is a brilliant piece of cinema. Clearly it'scentral theme is slavery, and the depravity human nature can so easilyreach; but it has many other small moments that trigger thoughts aboutwider issues – the role of religion being one for example. It isviolent, and in some respects awful to watch, but this is the story ofSolomon Northup told truthfully. There is nothing saccharine about theway Steve McQueen presents this and that is what makes it soastonishing. You cry because what you witness is truly terrible, notbecause the violins are out and the director's tugging on your heartstrings. All the acting is first rate, as is the score by Hans Zimmer.This really should be essential viewing for everyone old enough tounderstand it.

  6. aglowery from United Kingdom
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    "I will keep myself hearty until freedom is opportunity"

    For her crime of fetching a bar of soap in order to rid herself of herown unbearable stench, a young slave girl by the name of Patsey (LupitaNyong'o) is secured to a wooden post and relentlessly whipped by aruthless plantation owner, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Combinethis with an earlier scene in where the camera lingers in a torturouslong take over Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), as his back isbrutally savaged by assorted instruments, we know that Steve McQueen's12 Years A Slave will not be an easy watch. As Patsey receives herunjust punishment, Sean Bobbitt's unflinching camera captures the actof cruelty and all its agony. The girl's skin peels of her back as thewhip tears through her flesh, exposing the blood and bone beneath. Withevery anger-filled lash, you cringe deeper into your seat, sheltered inan auditorium that has suddenly become rather chilly.

    The year is 1841. Based on a true story, this historical period-dramasees Solomon's life as a free family man stolen from under him when heis kidnapped and sold as a slave, first to the benevolent Ford(Benedict Cumberbatch) and then to the less-humane Epps. Throughout hisjourney from Saratoga, New York to a plantation in Louisiana, Solomon(slave name Platt) must keep his true identity and talents a secret ifhe hopes to survive; "I don't want to survive. I want to live", saysSolomon and with every day that goes past, his chances of freedom growincreasingly unlikely.

    In response to the inevitable comparisons to Quentin Tarrantino'sDjango Unchained, McQueen's masterpiece proudly tackles thelong-untouchable subject of slavery in its own way; "Either we weregoing to make a film about slavery or we weren't – and we chose to makea film about slavery" says McQueen during the London Film Festival,"making a slavery movie without violence would be like making a WorldWar II movie without shooting anyone." If the pulpster's cartoonishDjango Unchained were to be considered little more than an appetiser toslavery, then the raw and difficult 12 Years A Slave is very much themain course… and what a taste it leaves.

    As Michael Fassbender's illustrious career screams for an AcademyAward, up steps McQueen – given that this is their third collaboration,with Hunger and Shame both drawing Oscar blanks, 12 Years A Slave putsthe duo on track for third time lucky. The Fass's rendition of slaverEpps A.K.A the "nigger-breaker", whose mood is lightened whenever hedelivers punishment to his "property", is truly remarkable and matches,if not surpasses DiCaprio's exceptional turn as Django's Calvin Candie.Ejiofor, our lead, graces us with a powerhouse performance as a brokenman whose eyes know nothing but pain. His formidable rendition of awrongfully enslaved man (not to say that any form is slavery is right)claws at our heartstrings with as much mercy as the winter shows itswildlife.

    Where the cinematography could be described as beautiful in theinspired way it allows the action to unfold, it feels very wrong toattach such an adjective to a film with visuals that are actually quitedetrimental to one's peace of mind. Nonetheless, the creativecamera-work encourages Slave's cinematic scope and as it lingers inclose-up over the many lost faces, on some level this helps to restoretheir identities; we're given time to remember who they are.

    The title hints towards an inevitable conclusion, but nevertheless,this is a fantastic feature that confirms McQueen's directorialprowess… See you at the Oscars. As the credits role and the auditoriumfalls into darkness, nobody moves. Silent. Mesmerised.


  7. carrotbread from United States
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    so incredible…. the trailers don't do any justice to the film. it'sso powerful lingering unconventional it presents so many variables tothat system one might not consider. the situations they show linger andyou get the full effect of them too. you really get the sense that itis based on an account. characters will appear and vanish. they willnot have little arcs and get give the audience satisfaction. it just iswhat it is. nothing is edited to bits either. this film is the work ofa genius!

    and about the musical selection, good lord. there are long bouts ofsilence and parts where it just freaks you out. it was really effectiveand hypnotizing. I was surprised to see Hans Zimmerman did the music.this is far beyond anything I've heard from him. Not the usualinception foghorns or military hum drum. also a great deal of realfolksongs incorporated into it. I love when films incorporate theactually used folksongs. period pieces should be filled with music.when there were no modern devices people would sing!

    people can't say that this is unrealistic either as it's an actualaccount. glad McQueen brought it to the public eye and in such anuntethered fashion. I'll probably watch this on repeat when it comesout. I'll have to check out McQueen's other films. haven't seen themyet for some reason

  8. chitchens fan from Los Angeles, CA
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    chitchens fan • 2 hours ago △ ▽

    Well, to begin, I cannot remember the last time I could not get up atthe end of a movie. I literally could not rise up from my seat. My bodyfelt as though it were being weighed down by something considerablylarger and heavier than myself… History had it's way with me. Thankyou Mr. McQueen, Mr. Ejiofor, Ms. Nyong'o, Ms. Paulson and others, andyes, even Mr. Fassbender. I am not a professional film critic or amovie seeing hobbyist, although I try to stay current, but what I AM ishuman. And as one human to another, it is important that you go seethis movie. Why? For as simple the fact as, we need to, every now andthen, touch our souls.

  9. benladams from United States
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    Aaaaaand the Oscar goes to Chiwetel Ejiofor. He did an amazing job in"12 Years A Slave." Really outstanding. The movie as a whole….7/10. Ithink I would have scored it much higher if it had a differentdirector. Steve McQueen's style just doesn't work for me. If you're afan of his other films, you'll probably like this one. I have a feelinghe had final cut approval of this film, and it really shows. Itdesperately needed an editor. A much tighter narrative would have beensignificantly more moving.

    The dialogue was unusually awkward for a film of this caliber – itripped me right out of the story. The scenes of brutality were verydifficult to watch, but that was the point. The film definitely made mewant to read the book (to which it is supposed to be very faithful).There was some unnecessary creation of inflammatory, fictitiousdialogue which is unfortunate because the real story is damning enough.

    The acting was mostly good (Chiwetel was fantastic, as mentionedabove). Michael Fassbender's transformation into a cruel slave masterwas remarkable and chilling. He'll most likely win for Best SupportingActor. Benedict Cumberbatch was great, as always. There were a bunch ofreally, really odd casting choices, though, that, again, ripped me fromthe story. Taran Killam (SNL), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), BradPitt in a five- minute cameo. I understand that comedians often want totransfer to more dramatic roles, but I really think their addition to aproduction of this weighty subject matter was a huge mistake.

    This isn't a movie you'll enjoy seeing, but if you're a fan of thecautionary tales of history and want to see a relatively faithfuladaptation of a horrifying true story set in the pre-abolition US, thenI think you'll benefit from seeing this film.

  10. Abstract News from Chicago
    20 Oct 2013, 6:00 am

    Did anyone notice how Sambo-like the character of Solomon is? And by"Sambo" I mean in the urban sense of a token black who goes to greatextremes of foolishness to entertain and appease white observers. Hisfiddle playing enthusiasm, his constant claim at freedom while thoselike him are being held in bondage, and his unmerciful act of turningdown Patsy's plea to take her life, though he's able to take the whipin his hand to beat her, and his constant begging of whites to performfavors for him.

    The film captures Solomon in all his delusion and fantasy. Throughoutthe film two stories are being told, and you are free to accept orreject either one. One story is the story of a free man who is throwninto slavery and makes it home in the end.

    The other story is the story of a man who imagines that he is free. Theveil is never lifted for Solomon, but for us, the viewer, it is. Wehave the opportunity to briefly see him in all the vanity of hisindividualism and selfishness. A man that will use his intelligence tofollow the rules, and risk his life just to send a letter, rather thansave a single soul.

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