Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave


– By Abishek Shenoy (Editorial Board)

This movie is definitely worth a watch considering all the buzz it is generating! Director Steve McQueen has brought forth a gem inthe form of his third film.

The film is set between the years 1841-1853 and is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born African-American from New York.

Solomon’s(Chiwetel Ejiofor) life takes a drastic downward turn while his family is away. Enticed with a short term job as a violinist by two duplicitous slave traders, he makes his way to Washington. It turns out to be kidnapping ruse and Solomon is unwittingly forced into the slave trade.

So begins an arduous 12 years of his life – changing hands between ruthless slavers and bearing the wrath of his masters, in stark contrast to his life as a free man. His eyes are now opened to the repression slaves suffer and the utter squalor they live in.

Solomon’s fate now depends solely on him contacting his friends back in New York, informing them about his condition and whereabouts. But the draconian slave laws at the time thwart his every attempt to reach out.

Watch this emotional drama to see just how it ends!


Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon gives a moving performance, one that deserves all the accolades he has received. A very talented ensemble cast was put together consisting of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt. Fassbender has put up an exceptional portrayal of Edwin Epps, the gruesome and callous slaver and owner of Solomon for the most part of his life as a slave.

This movie is thick with emotion and there are many intense moments which will tug at your heartstrings. It also does not shy away from portraying with bold realism the harsh cruelty the slaves had to suffer.

The only grudge that can be held with this film is the ambiguity of the passage of time. You never really realise that 12 years have passed until the very end. A couple of dates thrown in here and there probably would have helped.

Nevertheless, it makes for a great watch! Do not miss it!


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