12 YEARS A SLAVE (2014)


Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Garrett Dillahunt

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Synopsis: In the antebellum United States Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Wow. I’ve just finished watching 12 Years A Slave and I have to say, it was everything I have read about and more. It is a special film. An acting and directing tour de force that you only see very so often. An epic journey that takes you to all sorts of emotional places. Man, this is not a date movie.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t filled with joy about having to watch this film. I thought it might be a bit hard going and depressing and, quite frankly, boring. I am more than happy to report that I was totally wrong, apart from the depressing bit! The film flew by in no time, mainly due to the extremely strong performances by Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o. Throw in the likes of Giamatti, Dano, Cumberbatch and Pitt as bit part players and you have a fine cast list.

I think despite Chiwetel Ejiofor being brilliant as the ‘hero’ Solomon Northup, it is Michael Fassbender who steals the show. He is so despicable, so odious and downright terrifying as Epps that you forget it’s Michael Fassbender and you just really start hating the guy. The same goes for Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti as well. They do a fine job of getting the audience to hate them. The craziest thing about it all of course, is that people like this actually existed! Actually thought and acted like this. Indeed, THESE people actually existed!

I’ve read that the cameo appearances kind of spoil the movie, but when they are as talented as the aforementioned actors, I don’t think that’s correct. I’ve also read that some of the violence is a bit much, which again I don’t agree with. I thought the whole film was pretty much perfect actually. Sure it was harrowing, but so is the subject at hand. And it deserves a film to be made that shows what it was like for these people. It was basically hell. This is a film that needs to be watched by everyone because despite it’s setting of over 150 years ago, there is still racial divides all over the world. Clearly not as bad as 12 Years A Slave, but still there none the less.

This is certainly not a film I will be watching over and over, purely because it’s a bit of an emotional slog, with few, if any, moments of light, but it is certainly fully deserving of the following score and I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t collect a host of awards, including Oscars.

5 clappers


About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Good stuff! I definitely agree Fassbender does steal the show and yes, it is a very timely and important film people should see.
    Like you I don’t think I re-watch it anytime soon though, that’s also why my rating is much lower than yours. But yeah, good review my friend!

  2. Great review, I’m hopefully going to see this next week.

  3. Aha, glad you finally got a chance to watch it! I agree that Fassbender does an amazing job, and his performance is really complicated, too…he really tries to show the multiple ways in which his character is despicable, as you said! I see you disagree with me about the “cameo” spots. haha. But glad we agree that the violence is done really well. I won’t be watching it again anytime soon—it makes you feel miserable! If I remember correctly, I had to watch an episode of Arrested Development afterwards to cheer myself up.

  4. Good review Thomas. I think I’ve exhausted my thoughts and feelings on this a bit too much to where I’ll just put it like this: Overrated. Not by much, but just slightly overrated. In my mind, that is. And as you know, my mind isn’t always working correctly.

  5. I actually went on a date to this movie. Luckily enough, she was already my girlfriend, or else I do not think it would have been a good move. Fassbender was truly one of the top stars, and this film made me a fan of him. 12 Years a Slave is one of the scariest films I ever watched. I cringed, shook and jumped with anger at the some of the brutal moments shown in the film. A real eye opener to some of the real flaws of humanity…

  6. Simply cannot wait to see this one. Excellent review.

  7. I disagree about Michael Fassbender stealing the show, because even though I think he did a terrific job, this was Chiwetel Ejiofor’s movie through and through. I mean, those eyes. Such an emotional performance. I love, love, love this movie.

  8. The Reading Girl

    I need to see this!! This movie and the actor should deserve an Oscar based on what you just wrote :). Great Movie Review

  9. giorge thomas

    Michael Fassbender (or Fassburger, as I refer to him, and no one knows who the hell I’m talking about) is my new favourite. I’ve been going through some of his movies of late and just find him amazing. I would worry about seeing him in such a role, because the last thing I’d ever want to do was hate the guy!

    • Haha. He is a great actor. I’ve seen him in Shame and Inglorious Basterds and he is good in both. What others have you been watching?

      • giorge thomas

        Centurion (he is brilliant in that, really captivated that calmness you rarely see in a soldier), Hunger (which Mr Thomas said was the most depressing movie he’s ever seen, but the acting in it is brilliant, if you can get past all the shit – literally), X-Men First Class (which I watched simply because he was in) and Jane Eyre. I know Jane Eyre is a girly flick but seriously, he is amazing in that. And Mia Whatsherface is just haunting!

      • I’ll have to check out Centurion. I know Hunger is by the same director as Shame and 12 Years A Slave, so I should check that out as well.

        If Mr Thomas thought Hunger was depressing, he should watch 12 years as well! And Shame come to think of it

      • giorge thomas

        I won’t watch Shame. The trailer was enough for me to realise that movie would be too much.

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