Director: Steve McQueen.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Brad Pitt, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti.
Running Time: 134 minutes.
Synopsis: Based on the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free Black man who was captured and sold into slavery. His struggle to keep his identity and stay alive are made even more difficult when he finds himself bought by slaveowner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).
Following on from haunting, visceral Fassbender machines, HUNGER and SHAME, Steve McQueen’s latest, incredibly raw triumph grabs you by the scruff of the neck and demands your heart and soul. 2013 delivered two very different tales of Black oppression courtesy of Tarantino and Spielberg, but this nigh-on flawless retelling of Solomon Northup’s plight is the one to beat in 2014.
Finding art in the smallest of things, McQueen’s proclivity to linger where others would call cut fascinates and enchants – notably in an incredibly tense scene that finds Solomon’s life hanging in the balance whilst others go about their daily tasks. Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt once again melts into the director’s vision, creating numerous iconic moments from the spraying of fresh blood at the hand of Edwin Epps’ whip to a journey following Solomon through the woods. Malickian interludes serve to measure the years passed, but refrain from self-indulgence, instead letting us appreciate minor details and transforming 12 YEARS A SLAVE into a transcendent, necessitated rewatch. Continue reading