Sunday, 26 October 2014

12 Years a Slave

It is hard to say that 12 years a slave is 'brilliant film' because that is not what it is attempting to be. It isn't trying to be a film that people can watch time and time again and it shouldn't be, what the film is doing is educating and portraying the U.S' past sin. You only have to watch this film once to understand the intent of the film and the director Steve McQueen -who is also African-American- does it so justly.

The image above is of Anna's (Ashley Dyke) back following Burch (Christopher Berry) having made Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) whip Anna, as this image came on the screen it made people cringe, that reaction is far from surprising. Rather than talking about the reaction of the audience it's the reaction of the characters that is most important. Solomon struggles to beat Anna and you can see the pain it causes him whereas Burch and his wife have no problem watching this unfold and of course are forcing it to be done, even though Burch was in fact in a sexual relationship with Anna.

It is apparent that the beautiful scenery completely contradicts the deadly sin that is taking part within it. As well as the presence of religion which has an almost hallowing influence on the film especially on the plantations.
This image above has 4 parts to it; the righteous white man standing up front speaking gospel, the gorgeous scenery and arch-way sprouting life, the black people sat down looking up to the white man and finally something that is only in the audio of the film, the whaling cries of Eliza for her children.
This scene is most of the film wrapped into a space of about 2 minutes, white ignorance, black oppression and fear, religion and scenery.

The film truly does make the audience think about the problems being addressed but the sad truth is that this film is the truth. It is not fiction, fake, fable or a fantasy. It is the truth and yes there will have been areas where slavery wasn't as brutal (careful to not say as 'bad') but there are places it would have been more brutal, harsh or otherwise.

To bring this review to a close, 12 years a slave is not a 'brilliant film' it is a film that does the world a justice, there is not yet a word -that I can think of- that describes how and what the film does, not just the U.S, but for the world. It is an eye-opener for any viewer and is a must-watch before you die.

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