12 Years A Slave DS REVIEW.

Started On :: 13/01/2013 - Ended On :: 13/02/2014

 

The movie “12 Years A Slave,” directed by Golden Globe winning Black British filmmaker, Steve McQueen CBE, moved me in a way no other movie has in the last decade. Having been to a pre-release screening last night, I found myself waking this morning really Really REALLY giving thanks in a more appreciative way for my ability to sleep in a bed, with a roof over my head, with love from family and friends, and most of all my FREEDOM. I had a new sense of enthusiasm for my life, my blessings and my work.

 

The title says it all.“12 Years A Slave,” recounts the biography of Solomon Northup, a free Black man who was kidnapped in 1841, sold into slavery and shipped from Washington to New Orleans to work the cotton and sugar cane fields, despite his continued resistance.

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor leads with a tremendously moving performance. The power of which puts you in Northup’s shoes wearing despair, noose burn marks around your neck and eventual realisation that you may well die a slave buried in an unmarked grave on “Massa’s” plantation.

 

In fact all cast members under the vision and direction of Steve McQueen gave their all. It shows an explicit amount of detail, therefore giving us a raw reconstruction of the whole experience of slavery – from feet, hands, heavy metal mouth shackles, whipping, stripping of skin, labouring with no reward, to being taunted with the title “Nigger” God knows how many times a day.

McQueen uses great cinematography. His lingering moments give you perspective from different angles that drive home the realities of certain situations like a 10 tonne lorry hurtling towards you.

Unexpectedly, unlike “Roots” I didn't come away with any hatred in my heart for white people. Alex Hayley’s ancestral story of “Kunta Kinte” was so long ago, when I was only a slip of a girl during it’s airing on TV every week. Plus socially it was a different time. The 70’s were littered with racism especially so in inner cities, so seemingly art was emulating life.



Quentin Tarantino’s ”Django Unchained,” delivered the heavy message of slavery, but in a more light-hearted humorous way, which did cause a little stirring of the minuscule racist brain cell when Jamie Foxx got hold of the whip!  (It probably didn't help that I watched the movie whilst deep in the lush green landscape of Jamaican countryside, with not a white face in sight.)


However, ”12 Years A Slave” felt more real. I don't know why, but it just did. It maybe because it’s one mans true story and was so well documented by Northup in his autobiography published in 1853, or the thought of being free then becoming enslaved is so harrowing and soul destroying. Either way I walked away pondering on the poor people who for whatever reason remain enslaved in 2014.

12 Years A Slave,” is undeniably the Best Movie of the last decade. By Angela Douglas aka @DivaGotSoul

 

Footnote:

Once you see the movie, you will realise why the Italian promotional posters

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/distributor-apologises-for-racist-12-years-a-slave-posters-that-featured-brad-pitt-and-michael-fassbender-over-chiwetel-ejiofor/story-e6frfmvr-1226792209047   http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/dec/24/12-years-slave-italy-posters-pitt-ejiofor     showing Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt as the headline actors, with a tiny picture of Chiwetel Ejiofor as an afterthought, created such an outcry. Sadly racism is still alive and kicking!