Hard to think of anything worse than losing your freedom. 12 years of slavery (12 Years a Slave) shows how a free man can become a slave through the history of Solomon Northup, a black man who was born free and was kidnapped and sold as a slave. The film is based on the eponymous book, written by Solomon himself, where he portrays how it happened and what he spent in those 12 years as a slave.
The first thing that draws attention in the feature is the excellent work of the director Steve McQueen, who decided to put a different view of what we are used to seeing in productions that report slavery, using little explicit violence (and that little that was used being very, very well employed) and appealing much more to the emotional side of the story.
In the plot, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a black citizen born free at the time of slavery, who lived a good life, was married, had children and supported himself by playing the violin at parties. During a trip to Washington, of which Solomon is pouting while his wife, Anne (Kelsey Scott), is traveling for work, is kidnapped and sold as a slave.
And it is after this kidnapping that the real drama of the kidnapped slaves begins to appear. In addition to the terrible conditions in which they are kept and the violence used to them, heartbreak situations are presented, like a mother being separated from her children, who were also sold as slaves. The script follows Solomon's path from sold to Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), which was the best Amo that Solomon had, until the time he spent at Amo executioner's farm Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), where he stayed until he was finally rescued.
The cast is something that really enriches the film, in addition to many important actors like Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, himself Michael Fassbender, among others, that give a performance show, we have several very interesting participations as Taran Killam that makes Saturday Night Live and ended up impressing by playing a much more serious and dramatic role. Garret Dillahunt, known as the empty head Burt, in Raising Hope, also plays a brief but interesting role completely different from what you are used to.
Chiwetel Ejiofor does a magnificent job like Solomon, deserving his Oscar nominations and Golden Globehowever, who really deserves all the prominence and awards is the, until now little known, Lupita Nyong'o, that makes the suffering slave Patsey and without a doubt, he stole the whole scene with his performance.
12 years of slavery pleases in all senses, in the performances, in the direction of Steve McQueen, in the John Ridley and mainly in how it reports all drama without appealing to an enormous amount of explicit violence. It is an engaging and distressing feature, which portrays a complicated time and points out the problems of society at that time when blacks were treated as disposable.