THE PLOT THUS FAR
From acclaimed director Steve McQueen comes this “deeply evocative and brilliantly acted” film (Claudia Puig, USA Today) based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor in a gripping performance), an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and must find the strength within to survive. Filled with powerful performances by an astonishing cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave is both an unflinching account of slavery in American history and a celebration of the indomitable power of hope.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“12 Years a Slave” represents something that Steve McQueen has been building to as a director. Whether it is “Hunger” or “Shame”, McQueen manages to catch the most human elements of historical periods. Whether it is the sex addict longing for a personal connection in the modern era or the starving Irish political prisoners of the 1980s, McQueen knows humanity at its weakest. Solomon Northup isn’t a weak man, but a man who is forced to become the Job of the 19th Century. Faith, conviction and belief is tried and tested, but Solomon knows that he will survive and return home.
In the glow of the Post Oscars season, I can’t say that I agree with “12 Years a Slave” getting the Best Picture Oscar. While it is a strong film, so much of it felt like moralized grandstanding with excellent acting from the main cast. McQueen was at the lowest of his game, but I guess that it’s enough to get Hollywood’s attention. Brad Pitt’s star power and producer credit didn’t hurt the film in earning undeserved street cred. But, it’s not like it had a whole slew of major films to stare down. Honestly, anyone who wants to pretend that this film will change anything is longing for the days when humanity could lack back at events predating 1990.
The Blu-Ray comes with a Digital HD copy and featurettes as the special features. The 1080p transfer is spotless, but that’s to be expected for a recent release. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is also highly responsive and creates a rich audio environment. The ambient noise was strong enough to make my dog thinks that she was outside. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!