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12 years a slave

January 11, 2014

As youngest said, this isn’t a film for date night. It is relentless, bleak and appalling. Beautifully shot with a minimal soundtrack there are none of the usual rays of lightness within the lives of the slaves as this is told by them not of them.

The opening few minutes are easy as we see the free man and his family enjoying their life in upstate New York; he is an accomplished violinist and an educated man. And then within moments he wakes to find he is not as he is sold in to slavery. From then on there is no building narrative towards freedom –  it is a continuum of torture, degradation and inhumanity. Until it is over.

I wouldn’t say you must go and see it and I don’t think I can give it a star rating as my ratings are based on my enjoyment and I didn’t ‘enjoy’ it. I’m not sure it was entertainment. But it was powerful.

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3 Responses to “12 years a slave”

  1. t upchurch Says:

    Tantalising review, I saw the trailer and have been really looking forward to seeing this, especially as I’m a sucker for true stories. Shame about the lack of narrative, but yay for powerful — overall, was it worth the watch?


    • Mmmm.there was narrative but it wasn’t building towards the denouement as everything was so hopeless for so long so it wasn’t like a gradual journey back to freedom.
      It was patently not a Hollywood movie and I feel guilty not raving about it as the subject matter is something that needs to be told. Especially as the Americans trumpet so much about the value of freedom. And yes it was worth the watch but I think I would choose other films to see before this one.


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