Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

By Nikolai Brown

[Spoiler warning] 12 Years a Slave is an acclaimed film about the real-life story of Solomon Northup, a freeman living in upstate New York with his family, who in 1841 was abducted, sold into slavery, and put to work on a plantation in Louisiana.

Aesthetically the film is well made. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northup, does an excellent job of portraying the mental anguish and transformation inflicted through bondage. Scenes and shots are carried on slightly longer than in typical films, imparting to the audience a tension felt by the protagonist. The story proceeds in a slow measured pace representing the drawn-out bleakness of slave life.

Though not the typical Hollywood blockbuster, 12 Years a Slave has been hailed by critics for the ‘horror’ it depicts. After seeing the film, a reviewer for Time magazine proudly proclaimed she “will never look at this country again.”


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