12 Years a Slave (2013)

Another movie I watched a little late: 12 Years a Slave. An Oscar winning movie: Best Movie, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, 12 Years a Slave was indeed a brilliant movie: intense, realistic, overwhelming, deep and ultimately very very depressing. That’s what happened when I finished the movie: I was depressed.

Based on a true story of Solomon Northup, a free man in New York in 1851, we follow his life for 12 years as he is drugged and kidnapped and sold into slavery. While initially I felt it might have a tinge of another slavery movie Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave took me a completely different journey. This was more like The Passion of the Christ as we witness Solomon beat up, mistreated, degraded and humiliated. I won’t get into the details of the story, but Northup, who is now given a new name Platt, is seen working as a slave on different plantations and meet all sorts of people.

There were some worthwhile moments in the movie:

1. William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the man who buys Platt, and is actually seen being compassionate towards the slave. He’s not one of those mean ass plantation owners who beats and mistreats their slaves. Ford is impressed by Platt’s educational skills and actually treats him with dignity.

2. Epps (a very evil Michael Fassbender) is the second owner of Platt, who turns out to be a sadistic person. His wife suspects him of sleeping with another female slave Patsy (played by an incredible Lupito Nyong’o). Fassbender essays the role extremely well, you actually hate him.

3. Lupito Nyong’o, playing the adept female slave with guts, is a true discovery in the movie. Watch out for her scene where she is whipped by Epps. The pain, the anguish, the humiliation are all so well conveyed by Lupita. This is one of the most difficult scene to witness on film as it’s cringe-inducing.

4. A surprise appearance by Brad Pitt (who also produced the movie) proves to be a relief in the harsh drama as he sets out to release Platt and restore him back to his “free man” status in New York.

Solomon is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor who does a brilliant job of covering 12 years of his journey as a slave. No doubt it’s an incredible movie, and truly deserves the Oscar for best movie, but it just left me so depressed with it’s realistic portrayal of slavery and ill-treatment.

Watch it if you are in the mood to watch a serious, solid movie.

4 out of 5

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