Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Entertainment Reviews

May 13, 2014

‘12 Years a Slave’ worth a look, not a stare

DVD Review

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — I can count a great number of films I would have picked over many that win the best picture honor in any given year, but there are quite a few that I would concede do deserve nomination. Today’s title is one such example that outside of the Cliven Bundy or Duck Dynasty fan club, it’s hard to argue against how amazingly and spot on the commentary on human atrocity is captured.

Nay, my brothers and sisters, unlike a frequent guest on Rush Limbaugh, I was moved and made uncomfortable by one of our darkest hours where even the word of the lord was used as justification. It is indeed a lesson we’ve had to endure before, but one that is necessary to teach future generations as the future will offer plenty of other ways to screw them up. It doesn’t wholly make up for “42” being snubbed since it was just as historically significant, but “12 Years a Slave” is one flick I am glad I finally witnessed.

We start off this tale in 1841 Saratoga New York, where we are introduced to free African American violinist Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his family, who for all things considered are doing pretty good in the pre-civil war era. Still, because some lowlife had to put him in his place, things get suddenly very unpleasant when he is tricked by two con artists into the slave trade with the name Platt.

Though he attempts to at first plead his case, he quickly learns property is more valued than truth whether it is more kind masters who reward him like William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) or those who beat him for speaking his mind like Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). It is in this cruel world Solomon must find a way to survive and find a way to cope with the treatment of his own people, including the repeated violent abuse of fellow slave, Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o). Though one could build an endless set of sequels on the stories going on at the same time, it is more than effective enough to show what our species will allow if we are not vigilant.

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