- 12 Years A Slave CONTAINS SPOILERS
Well, anyone been to see it?
I went last night (cinebites deal at the Watershed for anyone Brizzle based – ticket, bowl of stew and a beer for £15 on Tuesdays 🙂 ). It lived up to expectations having read a few reviews and listened to Mark Kermode’s piece on it on Friday. I think maybe I’d over-prepared myself for the brutality of it, which I didn’t find as bad as I was expecting though some scenes are unrelenting in their portrayal of cruelty.
There are plenty of reviews out there that put into words better than I could how good a film this is.
And for those who don’t like Kermode, here’s Peter Bradshaw’s. (also from the Grauniad).Posted 4 years ago
Saw it last night too and was oddly disappointed. Incredible story (in the true sense), well acted, well shot and moving but ultimately unsatisfying. It’s worth seeing for sure and hard to watch several scenes but too many themes are left only partly developed IMO. Need to be careful with spoilers etc, but every main act and theme have IMO been developed more powerfully in other films. In this case, it simply moves on to the next one * in what seems to be an attempt to include too many aspects of slavery in one go. As a result, there is a long series of stories all left at a level that ultimately disappoints. At the end of the film, the three of us concluded, glad we came, hard to watch for sure in places , new aspects or slavery that we learned about and made us angry but ultimately something was missing. It was like going to a top restaurant for a taster menu and feeling nice but three/four better developed courses would have been more satisfying.
Having said that, I reckon it’s as shoe in for oscars. It’s that kind of film.
Brad Pitts cameo is another example of something else being fitted in without adding to the core story IMO.
* the hanging scene being an exception. The length of that shot, his feet, the fact that the other slaves just got on with their business through fear etc developed the horror of the moment. Too often other scenes failed to match this (Patsy and the post perhaps excepted)
I would like to read the book and would expect it to be more powerful and developed.Posted 4 years agolovewookieMember
the hanging scene being an exception. The length of that shot, his feet, the fact that the other slaves just got on with their business through fear etc developed the horror of the moment. Too often other scenes failed to match this (Patsy and the post perhaps excepted)
That was quite something, nothing to hear but the spit in his throat as he struggled for what seemed like forever. I could feel myself struggling for breath along with him.Posted 4 years ago
As a film, it needs more of that even though it was difficult to watch.
Even the next scene when cummerbatch sends him away – there is a build up of tension with the expected violence and then nothing. Cut to next scene. Ditto the aftermath of the patsy/post scene.Posted 4 years agoclubberMember
I haven’t seen it yet but read this article which is more about technical aspects of the film (including the long no-cut scenes) but I thought it was interesting.Posted 4 years agoLiferSubscriber
teamhurtmore – Member
Even the next scene when cummerbatch sends him away – there is a build up of tension with the expected violence and then nothing. Cut to next scene. ditto the aftermath of the patsy/post scene.
I know what you mean but I think that’s part of it, the lack of resolution trying to potray the uncertainty of their existence.
Thought Pitt was awful, needed someone else entirely for that part. But as the deliverer the character needed to be in the film.
Hanging scene was amazing, my favourite shot was were he burned the letter.
It was the quietest packed cinema I’ve been in.Posted 4 years ago
I thought it was excellent. The story of kidnapped free men I wasn’t aware of until I saw it which is exactly the point made by McQueen in an interview. The acting was outstanding.
The movie industry needs to release films simultaneously across the world, I wanted to see it and didn’t wait for the cinema release.Posted 4 years ago
It was the quietest packed cinema I’ve been in.
I love those moments when a whole cinema heaves a sigh of relief at the end. The long hanging scene was reminiscent of the swilling out scene in Hunger. Agree with Lifer that Brad Pitt was a somewhat incongruous pick for that role but thankfully, it wasn’t a huge part. (And I kinda like him anyway so I can forgive stuff like that 🙂 )Posted 4 years ago
I sort of sense that Fassbender is on he cusp of being one of the great method actors of his generation (dunno, maybe he’s already there). There were times during the film that he bordered on overdoing Epps’ psychotic nature – but rescued it at the right time. I suspect that in the future he will divide opinion in the way that DDL does now. Having said that, what would I know anyway…he’s acting under the direction of McQueen. He certainly can do a good turn as a deranged cruel psycho though. I liked his acting a lot.
Btw, I asked the mods to add “Spoiler” to the thread title as it seems we’re discussing it in some detail.Posted 4 years ago
@deadlydary – agreed on Fassbender. I did some google-ing and he’s worked with McQueen a bit so its clear they have a good relationship. Brad Pitt was associated with the film (producer?) I assume he put some money in so gets a role.
Also I see the reference to Hunger, after watching 12 slaves I have that on the “to see” listPosted 4 years agonoteethMember
Finally saw this last night (at DD’s favourite middle-class cinema 😉 ) & I agree with the mixed reviews above (multiplicity of themes, Brad spelling it out…). It’s ultimately carried by the hugely impressive performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor & Michael Fassbender. With McQueen at the helm, the subject was always going to make for a powerful film, but it’s not without flaws. I mean, there’s no sense inwhich one could overplay the horror of slavery… but for all the demented brutality of Fassbender & his whip-fetish, the most effective & disturbing scene IMO was the one inwhich the slave trader (played by Paul ‘Sideways’ Giamatti) touted & sold his goods – humans exchanged in commercial transactions, humans as property. McQueen nailed ‘the point’ perfectly in that scene, (and in numerous small moments – such as the brief glimpse we get of Omar from The Wire, the near-hanging, or when Solomon stumbles into the lynch mob).
Slavery wasn’t just rape, torture & murder: it was a means of systematic exploitation and one which underpinned the southern economy, and as with any ‘system’ – the efficient clerks and punctual trains of Nazi Germany – it was characterised by the mundane details of process: bookkeeping, transportation, property rights… IMO, some of the force of that early scene was lost by the end of the film.Posted 4 years ago
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