Country: USA / UK
Movie Review: Steve McQueen is a superb director who really knows how to handle a good story, no matter what its subject matter. After covering the true story of an IRA activist in “Hunger”, and the life of a sex addict in “Shame”, McQueen now turns his focus to slavery in “12 Years a Slave”, another powerful film based on the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free-born African-American from Saratoga, New York. In 1841, deceived by two rascals who offered him a job in Washington, Northup would be drugged and kidnapped, becoming a slave on the plantations of Louisiana for twelve years, after being released through the help of a Canadian abolitionist carpenter named Bass (Brad Pitt). He will be a continuous victim of physical and psychological abuses by several ‘masters’, especially Tibeats, a revengeful carpenter (Paul Dano), and Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), the plantation owner. With a fantastic pace, the film never loses grip, showing atrocity after atrocity with an excruciating precision. If Tarantino, in his “Django”, could make an amusing version of the theme, McQueen addressed it with seriousness, rigor on details, and in a quite distinguishable manner. A scene I cannot get off my mind is when Northup is hanged by the neck, barely touching with his feet on the ground, and many people pass through as if it nothing happens. Historically important, the film was based on Northup’s 1853 autobiography, and without a doubt represents one of the most solid achievements of the current year.