Tuesday, January 14, 2014

12 years a slave review

Steve McQueen's '12 years a Slave' has been doing rounds at the major award nights this year. This tale of a free black man, forced into slavery and made to suffer and work in the most brute conditions, is a story of pain and sorrow. Unlike other films on Blacks, this is not a story of liberation, but the pain of submission. Steve McQueen adapts the biography of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped by businessmen and sold into slavery.

The movie won the Golden Globe last night, for the best film in Drama category. But, i felt that the movie forces the audiences into visuals of violence to garner empathy, whereas otherwise they would have failed to establish anything valuable in the movie. The sufferings of Blacks in those ages were the focus and that was brought about through the experiences of Mr. Northup. I felt 'Daniel Lee's The Butler' had made me empathize and relate to the movement of Black's liberation more than this movie could do.

Chiwetel Ejiofor will get more nominations for his representation of Mr. Solomon and how he falls and survives in the pangs of slavery. A mean and brutal performance, just like his character in the movie, from Michael Fassbender might see him to the stage of Oscars this year. While yet another chance for an Oscar in the performances category could come from Lupita Nyong'o, who plays a young black slave mistreated by the lustful Fassbender character and his jealous wife, played by Sarah Paulson. If the movie tries to squeeze sympathy out of you, its from this character.

Short, but significant roles were handled by Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti. The music by Hans Zimmer, was somewhere in his usual league, sometimes over burdening a movie with this sort of harshness to it.

A movie made typically to woo voters on award nights, it would seem; and it looks like it is working too. But otherwise I wouldn't oversell it to the audience.

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