Based on his memoirs, this is the story of Solomon Northup, an acclaimed black violin virtuoso of the mid-1880s, kidnapped while on tour and sent into slavery at a cotton plantation in the American South.
Steve McQueen’s biopic is impassioned but lacking the heavy-handed dramatization of former features that have explored American slavery. He opts instead for an effective and unflinching brutal realism that arguably makes it the most powerful of such cinematic explorations. Not to mention that for the evolution of the cinematic art form and growing inclusion of black perspective in mainstream American cinema, 12 Years a Slave was a downright vital production. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s turn as Northup is harrowing and praiseworthy, heading an amazing cast ensemble. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
12 Years a Slave // Director: Steve McQueen // Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Micheal Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o // Biopic // USA, UK