’12 Years a Slave’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:20 pm,

12 years slave movie review 12 Years a Slave Review

12 Years a Slave avoids feeling like cheap exploitation, but Ridley’s script reduces the evils of slavery to a concept that isn’t challenging and lets viewers disconnect from the atrocities.

12 Years a Slave is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man and professional violinist from New York who, in 1841, gratefully accepted an offer of employment from two men, claiming to be fellow artists and members of a traveling circus. The morning after a night of fine dining and wining with the pair, Solomon awoke to a nightmare – discovering that he had been deceived, drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Unable to find any free person who might listen to his protests – or brave enough to risk their own safety by aiding him – Solomon experienced humiliation, physical brutality and even unexpected kindness, before he became the property of Mr. Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), a slave owner who prided himself on his ability to break the spirit of any rebellious servant on his plantation. However, even when faced with such insurmountable horror, a soul as strong and dignified as Solomon’s could not be shattered.

12 years slave ejiofor fassbender 12 Years a Slave Review

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in ’12 Years a Slave’

Directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) and scripted by John Ridley (Red Tails), 12 Years a Slave is a well-crafted film that uses the topic of slavery in the pre-Civil War U.S. as a means for ruminating on the human condition. However, it fails to make a clear-cut statement about the slavery issue or provide new insight on that dark chapter in American history. And thus, because the film doesn’t blink an eye – when it comes to portraying the cruelty/violence committed against blacks in the Antebellum South – there are times when it feels like (put bluntly) the equivalent of “torture porn” made for arthouse moviegoers.

In the past, McQueen has also used larger subjects (the IRA Hunger Strike, modern sex disorders) to explore how what a person does and/or what others do to a person’s body affects their spirit. That question is again his true focus with 12 Years a Slave, but the decision to use Solomon Northup’s tale as a way to further explore the issue proves less effective at best, highly questionable at worst. As a result, the scenes that depict the dehumanizing nature of slavery are genuinely disturbing to watch, yet the film as a whole fails to offer the kind of personal and informative character study that would’ve made all the suffering portrayed more meaningful (from a discussion standpoint).

12 years slave cumberbatch ejiofor 12 Years a Slave Review

Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor in ’12 Years a Slave’

Rest assured, 12 Years a Slave is as gorgeously shot and visually-composed as McQueen’s past films; his frequent cinematographer Sean Bobbitt photographs the 19th-century South as a sweltering hell – characterized by fiery sunsets, treacherous bogs and sparse cotton fields – populated by Solomon, other slaves and their oppressors. Meanwhile, the editing choices made by McQueen and his trusted editor, Joe Walker, favor subtly when it comes to spacing out shots and/or scenes that parallel one another (for thematic effect). Similarly, much of Hans Zimmer’s score is quiet and gentle – save for an early sequence (where Solomon is transported South by ferry), when the score becomes as over-the-top ominous as would befit a horror movie.

Indeed, 12 Years a Slave often unfolds as a historical horror show, as Solomon encounters many a monstrous Southerner who is all too eager to hurt, rape and/or murder any black person that crosses their path. Problem is, Ridley’s screenplay paints the story of Solomon Northup in overly broad strokes and fails to bring much depth to either the heroes, victims or villains. The end result is a narrative that skips too quickly through instances that offer complex insight; and, on occasion, almost seems to relish the moments that show the different slaves getting beaten, raped, flayed and hung (hence the “torture porn” label).

12 years slave fassbender ejiofor nyongo 12 Years a Slave Review

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in ’12 Years a Slave’

Ejiofor’s performance as Solomon is graceful and sympathetic, yet is undercut because the character is too thinly-written. No doubt, everyone who goes to see the film will cheer for Solomon to escape and reunite with his family, but Ridley’s script fails to dig beneath his surface – as a human being and artist – and reveal who he truly is, as a real person (not just a figure to be idolized). Similarly, Fassbender brings a steely gaze and unhinged gusto to the role of Mr. Epps, yet the antagonist – a malevolent scoundrel who loves to torture his slaves and lusts for his hardest-working servant, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) – is not written as being much deeper than your average Disney movie villain.

Several of the film’s most promising scenes involve the reputable supporting cast – Paul Giamatti as a slave auctioneer, Benedict Cumberbatch as Solomon’s first master, Paul Dano as an especially-punchable slave foreman and Garret Dillahunt as a heavy drinker forced to work alongside the slaves he once ruled over – but their flimsy characterizations and the script’s lack of payoff make their screen time feel a bit like afterthoughts (not helpful additions to the central battle of wills between Ejiofor and Fassbender).

12 years slave paulson nyongo 12 Years a Slave Review

Sarah Paulson and Lupita Nyong’o in ’12 Years a Slave’

Sarah Paulson as Fassbender’s wife, Alfre Woodard as a well-cared-for slave mistress and Nyong’o as the abused Patsey are just never given the chance to fully explore how women in their positions might have behaved – and, more importantly, why they act the way they do – in spite of sincere performances from all three actresses (especially Nyong’o). Finally, many a recognizable face pops ups for a scene or cameo, including Scoot McNairy (Argo), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) and Brad Pitt as a progressive-minded Canadian; with the exception of Pitt, though, these roles aren’t really worthy of the talent behind them.

12 Years a Slave avoids feeling like cheap exploitation, but Ridley’s script reduces the evils of slavery to a concept that isn’t challenging and lets viewers disconnect from the atrocities portrayed onscreen, without having to ask themselves the really hard questions (like “Could I have behaved like that, if I’d been alive back then?”). McQueen’s storytelling approach is more accessible here than with his previous films, yet it’s also too removed and is partly to blame for making the viewing experience a punishing, yet ultimately hollow one.

In the end, it’s best to approach 12 Years a Slave with the expectation that you are going to watch a well-made meditation about a man who endures a terrifying journey (right out of a Franz Kafka novel) – not a film that really adds so much to the ongoing conversation about slavery.

For those who are still undecided, here is the trailer for 12 Years a Slave:

517922988 3 620 439 12 Years a Slave Review


12 Years a Slave is now playing in a limited theatrical release in the U.S., but will continue to expand nationwide over the forthcoming weeks. It is 134 minutes long and Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. I remember Ejiofor as the assassin in Serenity. Good actor. Glad to see he got the lead in this.

  2. This movie is not opened anywhere close to me
    Darn it
    Darn it all to hell

  3. This movie has been heralded as the second contender for best picture and it gets a 3? I can see a 3.5 maybe, a 4 definitely, but a 3? Very surprising in my opinion.

    • Yeah, I agree. Giving it the same rating as Bad Grandpa, Carrie, Ender’s Game, and a lower rating than The Counselor?

      This review, as well as the one for All is Lost, is questionable.

      • I would have to agree. This is probably one of the lowest reviews Ive seen for this film yet.

      • You do realize that movie reviews stand alone right? You can’t compare numbers across the board and try to make sense of things.

        Bad Grandpa was supposed to be a raunchy comedy. The “score” reflects how well it accomplished that and how enjoyable it was overall. By itself. It isn’t saying “This movie is literally just as good as (insert every movie that has ever earned the same score.)”

        Parallels can be drawn to movies in the same genre, and comparisons can be made, but a movie’s review is a review… for… that… movie.

        • You just made that up.

        • Everyone is entitled to their own review, that’s why I said it was surprising. That being said, what the point of quantifying reviews if not to compare across a spectrum?

        • You’ve gone and made so much sense with that comment. Well done.

        • +1 to you. Screenrant reviewers have said the same thing in the past. I am shocked at the score though. Thought for sure it’d be a 4 or higher.

        • So 12 years a slave is a 3? Compared to what?

    • Yea I’m with you guys, haven’t seen it myself because unfortunately it hasn’t premiered near me. Based on reviews and that this is predicted to win best picture and many other Oscars, it is silly that this has the same grade as Carrie and lower than The Counselor.

      • What is silly is that you and others are commenting that this reviewer’s rating is too low for the film, when you yourself haven’t seen it yet. Just because the movie is about slavery, and just because some other reviewers like it does not necessarily mean everyone will praise it. Don’t understand exactly why some of you take such offense. Is political correctness behind your comments?

        • This reviewer, Sandy Schaefer, simply has horrible taste in film. Move on fellas…

  4. Hey Sandy – strongly disagree with this one. This was an incredibly powerful film. The audience seemed to become very attached to Ejiofor’s character and Fassbender’s character was absolutely menacing – I think he actually stole the show. It was a 4 at minimum. Thanks for the review, though!!!

    • Agreed!

    • +1
      This was an excellent film.
      The review here [3] is borderline insulting.
      I can see a 3.5, or a 4 , but a 3 is far too low a review for this film.

  5. Wow.. shocked. I saw this a couple weeks back when it was first released. I’ve been waiting to see ScreenRant’s opinion. But this is crazy! ’12 Years A Slave’ is by far the best slave film ever made and one of the most honest and revealing movies made in the 21st century. Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and supporting actress. This film was amazing. 5/5 for me.

  6. A surprisingly negative review. The way the critics are gushing over it on RT, it seems the consensus is that it’s an absolute masterpiece.

    • No, they gush over propagandistic claptrap like Mister Phillips and Zero Dark Thirty on this site.

      • err Captain Phillips but point still stands lol.

        • haha yeah sure, Screen Rant has a big agenda and loves propaganda. What are you talking about?

  7. a must see

  8. Yeah no way this can be worse than the counselor, movie was a few decent lines and a ton of a garbage.

    • Come on. Another one? See my comment above. Do people really not understand this?

      • you posted that after I wrote my post big dog, but I understand what your saying.

  9. I saw this a week ago and I was waiting for SR to do a review. It’s surprising that this scored lower than the Counselor. The Counselor was utterly dreadful. To say that the writing/performance/storyline is of lower quality than the Counselor is just amazing to me. Ejiofor provided an Oscar worthy performance while Fassbender’s character was dark, menacing, and some of the looks spoke a thousand words. I think this movie did have some issues but like Gravity, they were not a big issue that distracts from the experience. A 4.5/5 for me

    • Annnnd another one.

      • I understand where you are coming from but that is not entirely true. A movie is reviewed based on every aspect of its creation and intention. From quality to acting to emotion. That’s why they’re called “movie reviews” not “slave movie reviews” or “black comedy movie reviews”. It’s a rated based on how it is made as a whole film. Not on a genre.

      • Ohhh JB, Trey just served you, my friend. Now you can stop spamming everyone’s postd.

        • LOL

      • Movies as a whole are reviewed based on the quality of work that is done on the film. It doesn’t matter what genre they are but on how the film overall is made, i.e. visuals, storyline, acting, ect. It would be like a Percy Jackson Sea Of Monster film recieving 4 stars and Lords of the Rings gets 2.5 stars.

  10. Sandy, Why would you give this movie a 3 stars?! That makes no sense!

  11. I really liked this movie, the best pre-civil war movie I have ever seen. Does a good job showing that the American South was truly hell on earth.

  12. Haven’t seen the film myself – but to be fair, Sandy’s review echoes pretty much every negative review of the film I have read.

  13. I actually think this is one of the most overrated films I have ever seen. When I read the reviews for this film, I was expecting an inspiring, powerful, yet disturbing film about one of the darkest times in American history, seen through the eyes of one man, as we follow him on his epic journey of survival, hope, redemption, and ultimately salvation. Did I get that film? NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Words to describe 12 years a Slave are, exploitive, overly and unnecessarily savage, and insulting. The director thinks that the audience is stupid and ignorant to the horrors of slavery. He focuses far to much on the savagery then on the characters or story. I can practically hear the director yelling, LOOK HOW BAD SLAVERY IS, LOOK YOU IGNORANT RACIST FOOLS, LOOK HOW BAD IT WAS. My God it was like watching The Passion all over again. I agree 100% with Sandy in regards to comparing certain aspects of this film to torture porn. I mean I wasn’t expecting Gone with the Wind, but seriously this film is pretentious. I would have given this 1 star, maybe 1.5 because of Michael Fassbender’s performance. This movie ranks among the worst in my book, along with Paranormal Activity, Jonah Hex, Meet the Spartans, and every single Tyler Perry production. And for what it’s worth The Counselor was a hundred times better than 12 Years a Slave

    • I don’t think the movie was insulting at all. Comparing this movie (which is based on a true story, based on actual suffering) to any Tyler Perry production – that’s what’s insulting.

      • Right, LOL. Comparing any film to a Tyler Perry film is just insulting in general

    • You have lost all credibility by saying the Counselor was a hundred times better than 12 years. Take your meds, child.

    • DiBenedetto I think that’s your guilty conscience talking. Mcqueen just showed the truth and didn’t sugar coat it. The Counselor was a terrible movie.

    • I completely agree. This film is totally overrated. It was good, but not great or oscar worthy. I felt I was just watching people been beaten and raped, with no real focus on any individuals in the story. I came out of the cinema disappointed after reading all those great reviews. I have seen better movies this year. I would have also given it a 3 out of 5

      • @Tina – I have to respectfully disagree with you, i don’t think “12 Years a Slave” is overrated at all, but you’re entitled to your opinion. It’s easily oscar worthy, and when it pulls off a “Schindler’s List” you’ll see what i mean.

  14. I feel people forget that film is subjective. For every positive there is a negative and no film in history everyone in the world likes. Its what makes films so amazing

    • Also i dont like that other treys keep showing up. I need a more complex name.

      • Ice Trey

  15. It’s silly that the predicted best picture winner among many other Oscars received the same review score as Carrie and lower than The Counselor.

    • So what!!

    • I won’t argue with anyone cause I did get too upset when I saw the score. I am a big believer in that everyone has different opinions about film, I sometimes find the critics favorites too boring. It’s just that this was one of my most anticipated of the year. But I could enjoy it more, could enjoy it less. Thanks for the review Sandy.

  16. So this website scores Transformers 3 Four Stars and only Three Stars for 12 Years a Slave? What??? Okay, opinions are opinions. But what???

  17. Hm. I did think ‘Shame’ was utter dross that spent 90 minutes saying absolutely nothing but declaring very loudly that it was saying something VERY IMPORTANT INDEED. Even though it wasn’t. So I am guarded about Steve McQueen and have been wondering if this is the current director hipster du jour.

    A fine review. A surprising review. I prefer mine to say what they see on the screen, not what others are saying they are seeing on the screen. Commendable.

  18. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with a review so strongly. of course it’s up to opinion but everybody I’ve spoken to had the same reaction when they saw the film, and i can sum it up by saying it’s a hauntingly, terrifyingly, unambiguously magnificent film. personally, i’ve never had a movie dominate my thoughts and shake my beliefs like ’12 years a slave’. like i said, it’s an extremely subjective thing, but the fact that you gave it 3/5 stars makes me think we didn’t watch the same film.

    • Or, more simply, you are not the same people, and thus, have different opinions.

  19. I think everyone’s gone and lost their collective minds. Seriously?

    Why can’t it score 3 stars, cause everyone else scored it high? F**k that. I don’t understand Screenranters sometimes, one day you’re decrying the critics for collectively scoring your favorite CBM movie with a low score; accusing them of “hopping on the “bad review” band-wagon”. But you’ll throw yourselves on the very same wagon, with the same critics, if a Screenrant review doesn’t reflect the same opinion as your own.

    For shame.

    • I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is likely some political correctness behind much of the outrage here…

  20. You are wrong that it doesn’t add to the conversation about slavery. This raw and powerful depiction the pain of separating families along with the contrast of a man having and then loosing him freedom…is in its own way groundbreaking. It is only these types of films…that can heal this country of its racist past.

    • So a film…not legislation enacted decades ago, nor the changing hearts and minds of people for decades…will “heal this country of its racist past”? Have you noticed who is president, and who is head of our Justice Department?

      There will always be a minority of people, of all colors, who are racist, but this country, as a whole, was healed of its racist past long ago.

  21. Very pleased with this review and agree, SceernRant has it right on the spot as usual. Personally I would have given it less (just to piss off the overly sensitive fanboys). McQueen is overhyped and average talent at best. His movies come off as preachy and way too pretentious. Also it makes me sick that people are only defending this movie because it is baout slavery and not for its cinematic merits! Get over yourselves. Fassbender and Cumberpatch were good as ever, everyone else was forgettable IMO. :)

    • Says who? Oh… just you? I guess I know who should really get over themselves. 😉

    • THANK YOU!!!

      • Look how desperate you look. Maybe you should rethink your life if this is what truly gives you pleasure.

  22. Sandy,
    I rarely disagree with your reviews. But 3 out of 5? I just came from the movie and It deserves way more. :)

  23. Yeah, I like Chewitel Ejiofor and I like great movies such as these so that people don’t forget how important the subject matter such as this is and not to forget it. I’m a person of African descent, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, can Black directors and screenwriters stop recycling this same ol’ subject matter over and over. It seems all Hollywood wants Blacks to do are “Urban” comedies and “Urban” drama.

    I know Hollywood will keep trying to whitewash Ancient Egyptians, Ethiopians and other people of color within the Bible, they even stopped Will Smith from doing a movie about “Taharqa”(and Ancient Pharaoh) but PLEASE STOP, move and bring something new. The only thing that almost can be considered a fresh take on a Black person doing sci-fi was Sofi Stewart’s creation of “Matrix” and “Terminator”.

    There are plenty of Ancient African folk tales, to make great epic adventures about, and plenty of room for sci-fi. Where is the Black “LOTR”, “Harry Potter”, “Troy”,etc.

    The only thing that ever came close to showing how the Ancient Egyptians really should have been depicted was Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time”.

    • Wait a minute. Whites rehash and need to come up with something “new” too. Look how many remakes of TV shows are made into feature films. How many Star Trek movies do we need.

      The Afro American story is a compelling one and there are so many stories to tell.

      Blacks literally built America and were not compensated for it and this book (one of many) tells a great story. Great stories make great movies and this is a great movie

  24. i’m an aspiring screenwriter, that wants to bring in some fresh and creative stuff and this stuff embarrassing, no matter how good it is. There’s WAYYY much more to Black History than Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Slavery, please move on Black cinema with something more innovative and new.

  25. @Jeff, Don’t get me wrong, things have changed, mostly for the better but if you think that this country(U.S.A) and others are healed of it’s racist past then all I can tell you is to look closer. Its just placed itself overt and undercover. That minority that rules the majority(of all races) that keep racism going have not disappeared, its just hidden in plain sight.

    • Blastaar, so do you believe that Obama and Eric Holder, who are running this country (into the ground), are “keeping racism going”?

      Please, you and anyone else here who desire to hold onto a victim identity, get over it. This country, as a whole, is no longer racist. As for the minority of people, of ALL colors, who are racist in it, they will always be with us. But then, there are people who dislike and hate old people, ugly people, disabled people, etc. Don’t let them define you, and again, don’t hold onto a victim mentality!

      • @Jeff, Obama doesn’t run anything, he’s just a puppet like all of the others. The power is held by people behind the curtain, the one real President who wanted to expose all the “BS” and help the nation progress was assassinated,”JFK”.

        • @Jeff, I’ve never played into the victim mentality either. There will always be different types of prejudices but the elite few who run the world, Illuminati, or whatever want to call them are the ones that keep these things going, on purpose to keep all of us no matter what religion, race, etc. divided, so that “they” can always continue to rule by keeping us busy fighting each other while keeping us dum-ed down and caught up into stupid mundane things, illusions and fear.

          • Illuminati, or whatever you call them? Ah, you convey as being a major conspiracy theorist. If there are illuminati, they must be the mainstream media, as they have completely enabled this president and his administration. This is my last comment on the matter, but ask yourself this. If a conservative republican were president, and the country was over 17 trillion dollars in debt and growing, there were more people in poverity and on food stamps than ever before, journalists were being investigated by the justice department, politicial opponents were being selectively audited by the IRS, a signature healthcare plan resulted in higher prices and more people withouth healthcare than before, an ambassador and others were murdered overseas and blame was placed on a YouTube video instead of a terror arrack, and guns were being sold by the government to the Mexican drug cartel, resulting in the death of an American border agent and numerous Mexicans, do you not believe that the media, and hence the populace in general, would be demanding the impeachment and possible prosecution of that president? Would these not be top stories on the news every day until they were resolved? I don’t know about any “illuminati”, but we certainly have a biased media and a misinformed, naive, and complacent populace.

  26. I just realized Sandy is a guy

  27. Okay, so I saw the film, and I see Sandy’s point, but you will never find another movie that captures the heart, the horror, the darkness, the emotion, and the feel of the deep South in the 1800’s. Yes Solomon could’ve been more fleshed out I agree, but the performance was easily Oscar-worthy. Chiwetel killed it in this movie, and for Jeff above, I too remember him from Serenity. BRILLIANT ACTOR.

    Fassbender will be nominated, if not win for his role.

    Nyong’o WILL win for best supporting actress.

    Cinematography, most likely.


    The very definition of a historical masterpiece.

    • @ ColeSilver

      I agree with just about everything you said, except for Patsy.
      I don’t think she had enough lines, / acting to WIn.
      a nomination, maybe, but a win? unlikely.
      Maybe at the BAFTAs, but not the Oscar…
      as for who will win best actresr, not sure, but they’ll find someone else who gives a strong performance with more dialogue..
      damn.. either one of the girls from “Blue is the warmest color” ; Adele? or Emma… are arguably more deserving

      fine movie, fine score [Zimmer nails it again], fine performances by Fassy & Ejiofor, & yes, the cinematography was breathtaking.

  28. I have to disagree with the the claim that the characters were underdeveloped, particularly that Mr. Epps “is not written as being much deeper than your average Disney movie villain”. I’m not sure where I stand on Solomon’s character, how developed he was, but I would argue that Solomon’s story is more a vehicle to encounter a range of characters and attitudes rather than the focus of the film. What I think it adds to the conversation on the issue of slavery is an honest look at the emotional complexities of the characters surrounding the field slaves.

    The slave owners are distinctly different ideologically. Mr. Epps embodies the malevolence and cruelty that one might imagine a slave owner would have to have, but there’s more there under the surface. His world seems on the verge of collapse at any given moment, the tight control he wants over his “property” proves elusive. He turns to drink to deal with his frustrations and – as suggested by the former slave driver who betrays Solomon – probably because he is disgusted by his own actions but is incapable of admitting it. Look at the brutal whipping scene – he can’t buckle in front of his wife but he can’t bring himself to whip Patsey, so he cruelly forces Solomon to do it for him – perhaps hoping that he won’t be able to bring himself to do it either. When Solomon proves himself – sacrificing Patsey and his own peace of mind for the good of the many – Epps knows he has lost the ultimate battle and takes the whip himself. Incredible, gut-wrenching scene.

    It is also an unflinching look at the people we don’t want to condemn or sympathize with. Take the slave mistress – she is arguably a pretty detestable character. Her motivations are certainly understandable, but she relishes her “superiority” to the other slaves – she lacks the moral fiber and the integrity of a man like Solomon, who does what he must to survive and live with himself but is a virtuous and empathic man. Then there’s Cumberbatch’s Ford, who is a surprisingly sympathetic character, despite being a slave owner. He seems at odds with himself – there’s a genuine respect and admiration for Solomon as a man, a thinker, and a musician; on the other hand, he cannot come to terms with the injustice he is doing to the people he owns and, when Solomon brings it to his attention, he sells him. There is nobody left in his life to remind him that slavery is immoral. There’s also the scene in which he purchases Solomon, in which he tries to keep the family together but is forced to back down to save face. He is not an inherently evil man, and this seems to be a pretty groundbreaking admission/ characterization of a slave owner.

    Frankly, Brad Pitt’s character seemed to me the flimsiest of any in the film. He seemed to represent ideals rather than a real person. Is it satisfying to see a man stand up for the slaves to the slave owner? On the one hand, yes; on the other, something about it didn’t feel quite true about it, probably because the morals of almost every other character were so gray – nobody seemed too perfect except for Brad Pitt, not even the slaves (they were victims, no doubt, but it seemed they were forced to sacrifice their integrity in one way or another to survive). I believe the conversation he has with Solomon, but I can imagine someone as volatile as Epps being more than willing to threaten, beat, kill, or at the very least fire the Canadian for challenging him on something that is an especially touchy subject, especially when he does it in earshot of the slave that he hates most/exemplifies everything Pitt’s character says.

    All said, I think it was an incredible film; my only hope is that audiences can leave their preconceptions at the door and watch it with an open mind. I would say it is a far more interesting and successful film than the other landmark film about racism this year, Fruitvale Station, which a. seems to have attracted the audience that didn’t need to see it (the ones that are already aware that racism is far from dead) and b. was so straightforward that it almost felt propagandish. It was an important film to have been made in that it gave a voice to people that are under- and misrepresented in movies, and it shone a light on an incident that many were probably ignorant of, but McQueen’s film shows a more complete moral/ethical spectrum that is often, if not always, ignored in race-loaded art and entertainment.

  29. I watched this film and was hoping to have a profound experience similar to when I saw glory in My teens. I didn’t expect a film every bit as important as Shindlers list. The performances were all astonishing. I can’t begin to imagine how Fasbender must have felt having to embody such an evil man. I disagree about his character being under written. What did you want to know that was not there? His motives and needs are front and center. Solomon was a open book. Could they have shown a more flawed human being? I guess. Would that have made for a better film? No! The book had several hindered pages to tell this story, a 12 pear long story! The film did it in 2 hrs. The only way to give sandy the film he wanted to see was possibly an H B O mini series. So what if we got mostly the highlights. Are those not the most important aspects of this story? This is a slice of the pie that was slavery in the u.s. Not the entire pie.