FROM the torture of war to the torture of enforced slavery. It’s sure not all fun and games at the movies this week, but then it is January, and the weather is dreadful, and it seems an appropriate time of year to be curling up in a warm cinema to watch a “proper” story that will make you weep and wail and marvel at the wonder of the human condition.
12 Years A Slave is the story of Solomon Northup who is abducted from his family and forced into slavery in 19th century America.
Director Steve McQueen had had a rough upbringing with periods on the street and in borstal, and clearly he is drawing on his own experiences to bring this story to life in his third film.
12 Years... does not rely on sentimentality and soaring strings to get its message across. Instead, the physical brutality of beatings — and even a hanging — are played out in stark cinematic detail. The action starts with a slave trader poking and prodding naked humans at a market, and from there on in it gets worse.
Northup (Ejiofor) is passed through the hands of three plantation owners whose characters vary from the sadistic Epps (Fassbender) to the kindly and thoughtful Ford (Cumberbatch).