Twelve Years A Slave is one of those movies that comes around every few years, the type of movie that shakes you to your very core. After having seen the film, I can say without doubt that it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year – and I have seen practically every movie that’s been in festivals or theaters.
The film’s being called the Schindler’s List of slavery movies, and it’s an apt comparison. Although Steven Spielberg is better known to the general public for his blockbusters, Schindler’s List heralded the arrival of a filmmaker who was willing to take risks and tell a raw and intense story with much of the Hollywood shininess stripped away. Similarly, 12 Years a Slave announces Steve McQueen as a major, major talent – if Shame and Hunger didn’t already do that for you.
I don’t want to give away any plot details, but the film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, who is a free black man during the slavery era. We see how he gets tricked and sold back into slavery, and the film chronicles the next few years of his life, from the moments he has hope that he’ll somehow find a way out, to the moments where he sinks into the deepest pits of despair thinking that he’ll never find a way back to his family.
Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a career defining performance in this film, and if he doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, I’ll eat my hat. Michael Fassbender, after several snubs from the Academy already, might finally be due for a supporting nod for his deranged and weirdly compelling performance as one of Solomon’s slave owners.
Interestingly enough, this film might also mark the first time Brad Pitt wins – if the film gets nominated for a Best Picture [guaranteed] and goes on to win [likely – although it may be too early to tell for sure], Brad will collect the statue as one of the producers on the film.
Will you guys be watching 12 Years A Slave when it hits theaters? It will go into limited release on October 18th.