Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah
Paulson, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Kelsy Scott
Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas
Entertainment, Plan B, New Regency, Film4
Pictures (US), Entertainment One (UK), PVR Pictures (India)
adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, a New-York
state born free Negro who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold
into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve
years before his release.
Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
went through his 12 years as a slave. A great performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor whose
act of bewilderment, despair, anguish, trying to survive is just outstanding. There
are moments when with no sound and little movement, he projects what
hopelessness looks like. His 12 years of unthinkable abuse, backbreaking
labour, fading dreams of happy family, desperateness to figure a way out to his
freedom…every act moves us. The brutality, dehumanizing acts of the masters
make it so tough to even look at the screen.
plantation owner is shown as humane yet ineffectual who eventually sells
Solomon to the vicious, drunken Epps (Michael Fassbender), another cotton plantation
owner. Epps is ruthless. The screen timings with him in the frame are like an
unbearable demonstration of misery in movement.
come from Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) who is vocal about her grief, a young slave,
victim of Epps’ barbarous and insane ways. She is raped and beaten by Epps, who
is also a cause of envy to Epps’ wife who feels that Epps has an eye on her.
scenes in the movie. Mother’s pleading not to separate her from her two children,
still all three being sold to different masters creates a lump in the throat. Solomon
strung up by the neck for a transgression and his toes are barely touching the
dark plantation mud as he dangles, near-dead under the scorching sun. Another disturbing
visual is merged with this i.e. children are playing in the background, other
slaves are going ahead with their chores since they fear that if they would
help Solomon, they would lose their lives. Patsey somehow manages to give him
little water. The psyche of the slaves, their surrendering to the fate one side
and the heartless brutality of the masters / overseers on another side are very
well captured. The night Patsey comes to Platt (Solomon’s identity as a slave),
asking him to kill her is a scene of unbearable pain, particularly as Platt
turns his back and Patsey sobs into the night. Male / female slaves with their
bleeding back after being beaten up (almost to death) choked me. Solomon just
wanting to rush with officials who came to free him (following Bass -Brad Pitt’s)
efforts, turning back to give a warm hug to Patsey is so overwhelming.
slavery in American History. It is beyond one’s imagination the kind of
suffering the slaves faced. A complete shame to humanity.
his articulation. Though the title says that Solomon would be slave for 12
years, McQueen and John Riddley makes us feel that it could be forever. Sean
Bobbit (Cinematographer) has given great aerial shots which are so effective in
making us bewildered, disoriented, and a complete lost feel along with the
particular but it also depicts the tragedy of such countless souls who lost the
biggest gift of mankind- the freedom.