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The Milton Measure

12 Years a Slave

by Kate Higgins on Friday, November 8th, 2013

TIME magazine calls it “utterly brutal.” The New York Times says the film “holds nothing back in the show of suffering,” noting its “many powerful moments and sequences.” 12 Years a Slave, the new historical drama film released on October 18, 2013, is based on an autobiography written by the main character, Solomon Northup. This true story is a startling account of this man’s extreme hardships. Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofo, was a free man living with his family in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1841 when he was drugged and kidnapped. He was bought by a plantation owner in New Orleans and sold a few times over the course of his twelve year enslavement. The film has received a great deal of acclaim as well as critical reactions mostly due to extreme violence. Directed by Steven McQueen and produced by Brad Pitt, the film received some criticism for its raw violence and horror. It is a very graphic film about an obviously sensitive topic. However, the film received a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an online review aggregator which collects the reviews of critics, web and newspaper alike. Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus is that “it’s far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave’s unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant—and quite possibly essential—cinema.” 12 Years a Slave received praise for its incredible cinematography and its incredible story. Although viewers may feel horrified and uncomfortable, it is still provoking strong, powerful emotions in viewers. Debbie Lee, whose two-year English class went to see the film on Wednesday night, says that “it was really eye-opening, not because it included anything I wasn’t aware of about slavery, but because it showed the truth, in such a matter of fact way. The message is so meaningful, and it would probably be on my list of top movies.” Ejiofor, who plays Northup, says of his controversial and celebrated work,”I love the film. I think it’s a really strong piece of work. But I also want people to come to it without all the buzz and the hype and this and that. It’s a story of a man going through an extraordinary circumstance and I do feel it needs to be engaged with in its own quiet, reflective way.”

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Posted by Kate Higgins on Nov 8 2013. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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