12 Years a Slave (2013)

12_years_a_slave

It is just over two years since I first saw this as an in-flight movie.  At the time I wanted to appreciate this film on a decent screen, something I have only just managed.  Revisiting my first thoughts I actually still agree with everything I said.

Perhaps not fully appreciated on a small screen set in the back of the chair in front, but it was still possible to appreciate the horror that plantation slaves had to endure daily.  This abhorrent episode in human history is captured not only in some horrible scenes of trading the human cargo but also by a couple of stand-out gruesome torture scenes.  Steve McQueen lets the camera linger on one of these moments, prolonging the agony while the audience is desperate for it to stop.  The opposite is true for the other awful scene as the camera is whipped around between victims and perpetrators, echoing both Chiwetel Ejiofor’s state of mind as well as the torture itself.  Surrounding the excellent Ejiofor is tremendous support including Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lupita Nyong’o (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress).  A lot happens for a film just over two hours long, but it never feels rushed, which is a testament to both the screenplay and the direction.  An excellent and important film which I must revisit on a screen worthy of its power.

But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

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