12 Years a Slave

By ArtHouse Crouch End, 19 Mar 2014

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The film has deservedly won the Golden Globe, BAFTA and now the Academy Award for best picture.

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor missed out on the best actor at the Oscars yet walked off with the BAFTA for his portrayal of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York in the 1840s, who is abducted and sold into slavery in Louisiana, and of whose memoir the film was adapted. With a storng supporting cast of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt, the film gives full reign to the acting talent on show. Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as another slave named Patsey gives another standout performance, deservedly winning the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

 

British artist (Won the Turner Prize in 1999) turned director has so far not put a foot wrong with previous films ‘Hunger’ (2008) and ‘Shame’ (2011) displaying a real flair for visual expression. Regular cinematographer Sean Bobbitt here has created a great visual feast to match the subject matter.

 

Though it’s certainly not comfortable viewing, with glimpse into the cruelty of the slave trade and the struggles of Northup and his fellow captives. it is powerful, emotional, and heart-breaking film. If the purpose of cinema is to entertain, but also sometimes, to inform, to educate, or to enlighten then McQueen has succeeded on every level.

 

 

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