(This is my unfiltered reaction (with no spoilers) after getting back from seeing 12 Years a Slave last night. This was all typed between 11:30pm-12am and I just checked for spelling errors today before posting.)
I just got back from seeing 12 Years a Slave and I’ll tell you straight away – everything everyone’s been saying about this film is true. It is a fantastic, heart-breaking, it’s difficult to watch yet a masterpiece of film.
The whole cast’s performances are incredible. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender deserve all the awards that they are nominated for and if Ejiofor and Nyong’o do not get Oscar nominations tomorrow I will not be held responsible for my actions. If they don’t go on to win said Oscars I will be forever disappointed in Hollywood. They are all fantastic. They are phenomenal.
The direction of this film is perfect – I’ve not seen a Steve McQueen film before but the way he would focus on traumatic ordeals and make the audience watch and take it in is to be commended. There’s a continuous shot that pans around to see the various characters reactions to an event that must have lasted for at least three minutes – shots like that makes this film so powerful and thought provoking.
The score was fantastic. I don’t know what instruments were used but some clearly didn’t sound right together and it put you on edge. It made me tense and apprehensive about what was going to happen to Solomon next. Hats off to the composer, whoever they are. (I just googled it and it’s Hans Zimmer – of course it is the bloody genius!)
This film is so powerful because it doesn’t hold back. The brutality is in your face and it doesn’t let you shy away from that horrible part of human history.
I cried at the end of the film, I had tears running down my face and when the credits began to roll allowed myself to sob (not so) quietly. You are there on this journey with Solomon and it’s almost impossible to believe that this all happened to him. When he cries, I was crying with him. There were a few other parts during the film where I had tears in my eyes but it was nothing compared to the final few shots and the title cards explaining more about Solomon’s later life.
I feel that everyone should see this film at some point in their lives. It is a difficult film to watch and it won’t leave you once you step out of that cinema screen but that’s what makes it so great and unforgiving. I can’t quite find the words to give this film justice. I cannot recommend it highly enough and it deserves every accolade. I have now seen every film nominated for a BAFTA for best film and I can honestly say 12 Years a Slave is the out and out winner in my eyes. 12 Years a Slave deserves every award it is nominated for in every category. It is a hard film to sit through a lot of the time but that’s what makes it great.