Dalton’s Cinema Spot- 12 Years a Slave

Dalton's Cinema Spot- 12 Years a Slave

Dalton Valette, Opinions Editor

R, 134 minutes

Starring: Chjwetel Ejiofer, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

5/5 Stars

Everyone knows the horrors of slavery and how unbelievably terrible it was that our country went through such a dark period of time to enslave people purely based on their skin color. But seeing for one of the first times in a movie the sheer macabre reality that was slavery is unbelievably terrifying. 12 Years a Slave is the true story of black freeman Solomon Northup (Ejiofer) who in 1841 was kidnapped from Washington D.C. and forced into slavery for twelve years.

There have been movies made about racism before, just this year a notable example was Lee Daniel’s The Butler which largely dealt with the Civil Rights movement, and last year Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was about a slave who becomes a bounty hunter. Yes, both of these films exemplify that racism is wrong and in Django a glimpse of slave life was viewed, but neither was able to bring the sheer atrocity to the forefront of the story. 12 Years a Slave does just that. Rarely have I seen such a terrifying, realistic movie, and certainly never before about slavery in America.

The gritty majesty of this film is staggering and the director Steve McQueen has crafted a beautiful horror story that holds nothing back. This is not an easy film to watch by any stretch of the imagination, most of the film I was cringing and I guarantee my mouth was agape in shock. Ejiofer delivers a truly remarkable performance as the bound freeman and with his solemn looks of gradual decline into despair, we see true anguish form over the years of persistence that he will escape his cruel masters, but if anything Michael Fassbender delivers the best performance. If you can steal the scene away from Brad Pitt and seamlessly play one of the most awful, ruthless men on camera with realism and not create a caricature of the role, you deserve some acclaim.

McQueen blends the natural beauty of the South with the screams of terror effortlessly to show a beautifully disturbed film. Finally, slavery has been brought to the forefront of the screen as we can see the sheer atrocities from our nation’s past. People bring up that some legislation such as the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery, but only when we are stripped of our identities, blindly tossed into the dark abyss of the unknown, branded for each simple mistake we make and beaten down for our success with the burning pain of a whips lash, then you can say something is as bad as slavery but until then, never say something is even on the same level of gross horror as slavery. Not only is 12 Years a Slave a terrific film and (so far) the best film I have seen this year, it is a purely essential film, that at last we have.