Twelve Years A Slave

I followed up Dallas Buyers Club with TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE. I had been eagerly anticipating this film and only now finally had a chance to see it. I figure those who would have seen it have already seen it, so I doubt I’ll sway anyone either way. Steve McQueen (who directed the excellent HUNGER and the interesting SHAME) has crafted a meticulous, painterly and harrowing portrayal of Solomon Northup, a black freeman who was kidnapped into slavery and endured all manner of denigration and degradation under several masters. Chiwetel Ejiofor brings humanity and a great reserve of strength to the role, and if nothing else this film is a very sobering lesson in American history that many would rather not stir up. There wasn’t any moralizing or cathartic bloodbaths as per DJANGO UNCHAINED. Alas, if only this film had more stirring moments such as Django I would have been more moved and made heated, but its restraint and gravity held back far too much. For those who think I would have desired more shootouts or more violence to arouse my passions, that is not the case. It was sad, and melancholy, and preserved under glass. I didn’t walk out of the theatre pissed off or bothered, and that’s too f**king bad.

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