12 Years a Slave


Last weekend I finally got the chance to witness the latest masterpiece by director Steve McQueen. 12 Years a Slave was simply a powerhouse of story telling and also the astounding performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor makes me believe that this film is this year's Best Picture. I am no where near a film critics but I tend to watch a lot of films during my spear time. So hopefully this little review would give you a sense what I experienced during the film and my thoughts on the film.




First let know a little about director Steve McQueen who truly came out of nowhere. His 2008 film Hunger won the prestigious Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but the real surprise was this was his first feature film! After I saw Hunger I was hooked as I eagerly waits for information on his next project. In 2011, He continued his collaboration with Michael Fassbender in the film titled Shame which tells a story of a sex addict who is struggling with his life. Reality tends to be the central theme in all of McQueen's films. 


There are moments in this film that was truly hard to witness on screen. The story was based on the real life events that happened to Solomon Northup.  It was set during the mid 18th century, Solomon was a free black man who lived with his his wife and two kids, but he was tricked and kidnapped into Slavery.  His  journey into slavery was filled with pain and torture, but it was his strong well to live and also his fighting spirit that kept him alive all those long painful years. The journey took a deep dive into a period of time where slavery was at its highest peak as changes was about to unfold. McQueen is a master in character development, by the end of the film I felt so connected with the central characters that I felt an emotional bondage with the characters themselves. 

12 Years.jpg

The first film I saw that had Chiwetel Ejiofor in it was Alfonso's 2006 film Children of Men, which happen to be also one of my  favorite films. In my opinion, Mr.Ejiofor did just an amazing job in the role of Solomon, as an actor he really showed his craftsmanship in this film. I have a strong feeling that in the upcoming race for the Oscars he will defiantly get a nomination for Best Actor. This was a tough role to portrait to begin with, the actor must embody the physical and the emotional aspect of the character, which makes why his performance was truly inspirational. Aside from Chiwetel this film was filled with big names hollywood actors including Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and surprisingly Brad Pitt made a cameo in the film. Thought they are all overshadow by the performance of a new comer named Lupita Nyong'o who I believe is the real star of this film. After a little search on wikipedia I found out that this was her first feature film; She shown tremendous talent at her age.



The film was beautifully shot and the camera work by Sean Bobitt was simply stunning,  Sean been working with McQuee since Hunger, I just love the way how he portrait reality in his shots. The close up shots really give a depth of characters feeling and emotions, and along with facial express he also focus on the eyes of the character. Through the character eyes one can almost feel and touch the soul of the character, its simply an huge accomplishment to be able capture this level of detail on screen. 

its been awhile since i experience something like in the theatre, most of movies nowadays seem to lost the sense of reality and really go over the top to make the film more appealing to the audience, but this film truly brought back the reason why we goto the cinema. This film is defiantly not for the faint hearted,  as its brutal in every sense of the way as the film intended to be. 

As we gearing towards the Oscar session I am very curious as how this film gonna compete with other major film from this year like Alfonso's Gravity and also Tom Hanks Captain Philip, both of which I will be reviewing in the near future. So if you have the time this holiday season defiantly go check out 12 Years a Slave by director Steve McQueen.  

Simon HuaComment