12 Years a Slave Reviews
Reading wiki about this story is almost as painful as watching the movie, particularly in the historic background section of african-americans losing voting rights in the NE in the early 19th century, and purposeful flaws of US legal system.
Definitivamente una de las películas mas bellas que he visto; una obra maestra de Steve McQueen, tan bien trabajada desde el vesuario, la puesta en escena, la música; las excelentes actuaciones le dan mas intensidad a esta historia tan profunda sobre la esclavitud que sin lugar a dudas todo el mundo debe ver.
The umbrellas with long handles that we use when it rains cats and dogs always remind me of Mary Poppins' umbrella. If someone asks me now, if I would like to go on a journey with Mary Poppins, I would be like a kid in a candy store. Articulating my feelings, "Saving Mr Banks" tells the origin story of Mary Poppins and presents behind the scenes of the movie. Frankly, this movie flies me off to all new and different realms. Like me and Mary Poppins never left each other's side throughout the film.
I think there's not one soul amongst us that doesn't know that arrogant and well-disciplined governess Mary Poppins, who flies using her enormous black umbrella. We get to know Mary Poppins, who has a wardrobe reminiscent of a regular 19th century English woman, as a super hero coming from heavens with dark colored clothes and a gigantic hat. In fact, what identifies Mary Poppins is the coal black umbrella of hers. Chosen as a "metaphorical" symbol of the gloomy rainy weathers of England, black umbrella is an important element that we identify Mary Poppins with. In reality, Mary Poppins is a very special person, because she has her own unique feature. She can tidy up a messy room just with a finger snap, she can fly and she can take out enormous household goods just from her small handbag. Having children under her spell with her magical powers, there's no impossible for Mary Poppins.
Now, picture all this before your eyes! If you could manage to do this, we can continue to how Mary Poppins have been realized. Based on a true story, Mr. Banks shows us the behind the scenes of this Disney classic and tells us the story of the unstable relationship between legendary Walt Disney and author P. L. Travers. When his daughters persistently asked him to shot the film of their favorite book Mary Poppins, Walt Disney promised them that he would, but he didn't realize at that time that keeping his promise would take 20 years.
THE MERGENCE OF MAIN AND SIDE STORIES
Consist of the merged main and side stories, "Saving Mr. Banks" shows the inner world of the author Travers perfectly. While we're already talking about main and side stories, we should give details on these subjects. Within the side story, we watch "behind the scenes" moments of Mary Poppins and within the main story we watch the relationship between the author and Walt Disney. For example, when a 'flashback' cuts in, we see the "behind the scene" enactments of Mary Poppins. Besides, these enactments consist of phantasms and reality intertwined. Well then, how does phantasm and reality intertwine? Let me answer this immediately. Within the scenes, where phantasm dominates, Travers imagines the scenes that will be shot. Telling us the events happened between 1906 and 1965 from his own point of view, the author reminds us that we're watching a "film within a film". He already is the eyes and ears of the film! In fact, having us identify ourselves with Mary Poppins, Travers reminds us Poppins' umbrella by using the "rain provides life" cue. Another detail is that the relation between object and character is as right as rain. For example, there are Walt Disney toys in Travers' hotel room. Eh, at the end, the movie was being produced by Walt Disney! But what impressed me most is that director John Lee Hancock, who uses vivid colors, turned the scenes, shot in 2:35:1 cinemascope format, into a visual feast. This visual feast reflects the beginnings and the middle of the 1900s so good that you want the time machine has already been invented, so that you can travel back. The movie, really, embraces us and due to its strong aura, all the scenes become engraved on your mind.
Let's cut to the Travers' experiences, which is the main theme of the movie. Sometimes, Travers' anger and dissatisfaction raise difficulties for the production. Because the author always worries about that the film won't be able to reflect the essence of the book. For me, the most important thing is Walt Disney's 20 years long perseverance to keep his promise to his children. But it looks like, the life Travers led let her down so much that she can't shake off all her bitterness and bad temper. The most obvious evidence of the bad temper of rebellious and delirious Travers is the lonely life she led. In fact, she was so lonely that Mary Poppins was her only friend. Actually, was not this the only reason for Walt Disney to pursue Travers? Actually, the most interesting part of this story is the "Mr. Banks" character which was inspired from the deceased father of the writer. May be this is the reason of her bitterness. Who knows? In general, Travers' conversation with Walt Disney's toy may be the sign of the loneliness and dissatisfaction of the writer who has chosen solitude after all she has been through. Because, used as a metaphor, the Disney toy makes all the problems, buried deep inside Travers' personality, burst out. According to our analysis, Travers either postponed these problems or enshrined her own loneliness into her heart.
MARVELOUS ACTING AND SOME GAPS
When examined superficially, the perfect storyline and the marvelous acts of Emma Thompson, who plays Travers, and Tom Hanks, who plays Walt Disney, make a cold fact appear before us. According to that cold fact, what we watched on the screen was multi-layered; and we get aware of this fact only at the end of the movie. The message is so deep that it's hard to forget all along our life; because, maybe we will never watch another movie that teaches a powerful humanity lesson. However, it wouldn't be right to finish the article without making this small critic: I think it was a bit irrational to show Colin Firth, who plays Mr. Banks, whose also gives his name to the title of the movie, within so few scenes. Hence it looks like something outweighed. And also, even, incorrect portrayal of Mary Poppins' character within the scenes that show the behind the scenes moments of the original film tops it all. I wonder why they didn't put any scene that shows Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella, which is a token of her identity? It's hard to find a logical answer. It seems like, the behind the scenes was a bit mediocre. There could be more details.
In a nut shell: Even there were some faults, "Saving Mr. Banks" is a movie that can convey the feeling to the audience and become a friend with them successfully. In the last scene of the film, watching her own film, Travers cried so much that I also couldn't keep my tears from flowing. Especially the music playing in the background was like the blood travelling in our veins. I suggest you not to miss this film. Everyone can find a piece from himself/herself in this movie.
I guess, it would be hard to control our tears, when we imagine the acts of the cruel individuals, who incorporate racism with violence. Then, what if this all acts pass before our eyes just like film reel? There's one thing to say; prepare yourself to the images you will see on the silver screen!
Did you ever paid or forced to pay a price where you have neither any responsibility nor obligation? I'm sure we all did; at least once. But when that price is your freedom, then a line should be drawn there! Emphasizing the fact that freedom is priceless, the film "12 Years a Slave", which has Academy Award nominations in 9 categories, shows the different forms of the war between white men and black men lasting for centuries conspicuously. Steve McQueen, acclaimed director of successful movies like "Shame" and "Hunger", amplifies the power of the reality and vitality of the story by rendering his own feelings in. We should discuss this in detail. According to the movie and the proletarian dictatorship, the injustice and slaughter that enslaved black man subjected is a great crime. We can see that ownership instinct and hierarchical system have nothing to do with belief systems; the only reason is the "poisonous ego" of the humankind. We can relate the tyranny to "poisonous ego"; because "poisonous ego" makes all the depressed feelings within the subconscious emerge. Just like we see in the movie, "12 Years a Slave"... Now let's examine how the story of the film is told on the silver screen...
SUCH A CRUELTY
Solomon Northup is an African American guy, who lives in New York with his family and devoted himself to music. Solomon is a happy man with his freedom of choice. One day, he meets two men about a music job and goes to Washington to work as a musician. But the civilized world that he believed in turns upside down; those two men drugs and kidnaps him and sell to plantation in the South as a slave. The only thing, we can tell about the rest of the movie is that your tears will flow. Because all a slave's psychology subjected is suffering, torture and slaughter. Poor African Americans, the innocent victims of the tyrants! The beatings Solomon and the other slaves received are the reflections of cruelty. This heart-breaking situation may remind the audience of the Hitler's, Stalin's and Franco's dictatorships. Even the Jigsaw, with its torture scenes... Though, it can't be a patch on Jigsaw!
THE WAR BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
There's no doubt that the center of this story of slavery war and personal freedom that happened 200 years ago is the protagonist Solomon, who was ossified with his ups and downs, fears, endurance and dedication to life, while he also defies it. Maybe this sorrowful journey of Solomon, who is a unique personality, is a bitter pill to swallow, but he reflects his inner light on everything that has happened and this constitutes the backbone of this story's naivety. The despair and unrecoverable anger, our protagonist feels, show the faith of the character drifted towards obscurity. We can identify this as the established form of pain and sorrow. Taking main character away from his homeland and beaming him to an unfamiliar place, a center of evil is throwing audience a curve. Here is an image of loneliness and despair! From this point, we can draw an analogy of Solomon like this: While the dark clouds cast their shadows over his life persistently, just like Rodin's famous sculpture "The Thinker", he loses himself far away in his loneliness. No matter how depressing this scene is, having a strong character, Solomon doesn't give up and learns how to fight with his loneliness, come what may. In addition to this, beyond the struggle for life and the destructive psychological situation, he almost becomes the projection of a troubled life, with an attitude like he can control everything easily. The oppression created by this clash of clans and cruelty increases in daily basis and the unpredictable end that leads to worries us. As we are over-sensitive to this subject, the film made us cry, rarely got our hopes up, reminded us that above all we're human beings and thrown us into the hands of indescribable sorrow.
REMORSELESSNESS AND AN AFFRONT TO HUMANITY
Frankly speaking, along with this kinds of hurtful laws of the civilization, the effort of those remorseless people trying to cover their shameful activities as if nothing has happened, presents the essence of the story, which runs towards an inevitable ending. This remorselessness emerges to the surface once in some people, a few times in some and frequently in some and becomes the identity of them. Then, there's nothing you can do about that kind of individuals. Though, there is a saying as "there is no end to the cures within democracies", but it's hard to talk about the existence of a democracy within this example. The best example of this is the antagonist Edwin's (Michael Fassbender) usage of slaves as his own assets. The words coming from the optimist Canadian farmer (Brad Pitt), who always sees the glass half full, are: "Everybody is equal before the laws, whether he is black or white. If you have been in their shoes just for one day, you would never act like this again." Emphasizing the importance of being empathetic with these words, Canadian, who has his heart in the right place, also underlines the need of the slaves to walk from darkness into the light. In fact, the reason why "they bide, they're on their feet" saying is attributed to slaves is that they never give up. Just a small light of hope would show everyone the meaning and importance of their determination towards life.
MUSICS AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE COLORS
Now, imagine that all these events of the story are backed with the music of a great composer like Hans Zimmer. Wouldn't be so motivational? Yes, you didn't hear wrong; the music of the movie is composed by Hans Zimmer. It's a clever move for director McQueen to combine Hans Zimmer's magnificent music with his 2:35:1 cinemascope images. As if all these brought the movie to a fourth dimension. Gluing the audience on their seats with his high quality cinematography, McQueen gives a lesson on what to shoot and how, by using all visual elements in their proper place, especially the objects that enters the frame. He fits the vivid colors, he prefers to use, via the natural spaces. By this way, the gaps within the script are also filled. But, it looks like filling the gaps was not enough to cover all the errors. For example, one of the most problematic errors that will annoy the audience is the length of the mise-en-scènes. Sometimes these scenes are too long, but sometimes you ignore this problem, because of the wonderful performances of the great actors. As the phrase goes, the unforgettable cues of two great actors, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor, raise the bar for the film. And also we shouldn't forget an important detail; unique message on slavery from the producer of the film, Brad Pitt.
As a conclusion: "12 Years A Slave" is a fabulous film which wrenches our hearts, fills our eyes with tears, makes us think, gives a lot of messages and serves a purpose. It doesn't only examine the slavery problem, but it tries to cure a bleeding wound of humanity. And by never ceasing... I want to conclude my article by stating: "We shouldn't hide the truth"
Set in the early 1840s, Northup (British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man who plays the violin and lives with his family in New York. One day he is offered a job in Washington, D.C., but ends up being tricked, kidnapped and is thrown into the human slave trade in the Deep South. Ejiofor delivers the title role perfectly. His performance is electrifying and award-worthy. In fact, he has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor - in a Leading Role. I'll be rooting for him this March. Screenwriter John Ridley (Red Tails and Undercover Brother) gives us a powerful and emotional story told through the eyes of Northup. The story is also based on a part of Northup's own memoir, which was published in 1853.
Once Northup is kidnapped and thrown into the slave trade his name is changed to Platt Hamilton. Hamilton is quickly sold to plantation owner William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch). Ford may be a slave owner, but he still shows sympathy toward Hamilton. Cumberbatch's part is small but he gives a humble performance as Ford and treats his slaves like people, not property. Sadly, Hamilton is sold again to the vicious Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Fassbender nails his performance as the cruel and wicked slave owner who treats everyone around him like dirt. Epps is a drunk who twists Scripture to make him justify his use of the whip on slaves. Fassbender is the Amon Goeth (Schindler's List) of antagonist in movies. He has also been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor - in a Supporting Role.
Finally, Hamilton meets Samuel Bass (Brad Pitt), a carpenter, who helps him set up an escape to get him back home to his family. There are other noteworthy performances in this film by a stern Paul Giamatti, a sadistic Paul Dano and the incredible Lupita Nyong'o. Nyong'o's performance is so powerful that it will shake you. She has also been nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress - in a Supporting Role. This is McQueen's third feature film but he is already proving himself to be a world-class director. McQueen's two previous films, Hunger, about IRS prisoners starving themselves to protest, and Shame, about sex addiction, show the realism and horror of our world. McQueen delivers difficult and challenging films but that is what is captivating about his work. You don't just watch 12 Years a Slave, but you live and breathe it. With every single whip lashed, you feel the excruciating pain in your bones and get knots in your stomach.
This is what makes McQueen's films so mesmerizing, and that is why I'm placing 12 Years a Slave as the No. 1 film of the year. This film will win many awards and deserves them all. It won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama, and also won three Critics' Choice Awards. It has also been nominated for nine Oscars, 11 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), seven Independent Spirit Awards and 11 awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association. On top of that, 12 Years a Slave has another 95 wins and 104 nominations. If you want to see a grand film that will challenge your mind, heart and soul, then I would advise you to go see this film.
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Totally agree, Gregger. Quite a powerful movie.
GREG: We re introduced to Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free Negro living in Saratoga Springs, NY in the year 1841. While his wife and children are on a 3-week trip, he is invited by a pair of circus owners to travel with them to Washington D.C. and play violin in their orchestra. Solomon isn t long in D.C. when one day he wakes up in a cellar with shackles on his hands and feet.
SCOTT: Solomon tries to explain to his captors that he is a free man from New York, but he learns the hard way that the more he speaks the truth of his identity, the more brutally he is beaten. He is taken by boat to the deep south where he must live the life of a slave. Some of his white slave owners are crueler than others. One particularly evil master nearly kills him, and he is sold to another who is just as bad. The entire movie portrays Solomon s attempt to maintain his dignity as he seeks to restore his freedom under the most horrific of conditions.
GREG: Scott, this movie provides a vivid look at the inhumanity of slavery in the old South. It will draw comparisons to the Summer s The Butler for a look into the lives of how Blacks have been treated in America. The most compelling thing about this film is that it is the story of how a free man is cast into slavery. We see Solomon in his ordinary world, a full citizen with all the rights and privileges of any other man in his town of Saratoga. And literally overnight he is stripped of his identity and cast into a world where revealing that you know how to read and write could mean your death. The stark contrast between these two worlds makes his story at once chilling and compelling.
SCOTT: 12 Years a Slave is hard to watch but it must be watched. Our ability to learn from man s inhumanity to man is very much dependent on our willingness to see and confront the very worst ways humans have treated each other. For that reason we must see movies about the holocaust, about genocide, about torture, about slavery. And then we must do everything in our power to ensure that these atrocities are never repeated. There are dozens of scenes in 12 Years as a Slave that portray horrific suffering, and the suffering is physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are scenes of brutality that are too terrible to bear, but bear them we must. Are these scenes over the top? If they were not true, perhaps so. But their veracity justifies their need to be shown, to be disgusted by, and to be learned from.
GREG: The impact of this story is how we can walk in this man s shoes - asking ourselves What if this happened to me? What if one day I woke up in chains with no way of getting home? The concept of it boggles the mind. This is the strength of director Steve McQueen s and writer John Ridley s storytelling. They have successfully drawn us into this man s nightmare and made us feel his pain. Solomon s story represents a classic hero s journey. We meet him in his ordinary world where he is a free man. Then something terrible happens and he is cast into the special world of slavery in the deep South. He is separated from friends and family and must face enemies and make allies in this new world. The rules here are different and he must learn to maneuver in this strange place and learn the rules or suffer the consequences. The consequences in this case are the lash of the whip or even death.
SCOTT: Greg, the casting in 12 Years a Slave is phenomenal. All the actors deserve kudos for their remarkable portrayals of toughness and strength, anguish and despair, hatred and love, heroism and villainy. Chiwetel Ejiofor in particular jolts us into the reality of enslavement and the tragic toll that enslavement takes on our mind, body, and spirit. Ejiofor most certainly deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. We see and vicariously experience the pain and anguish of the slaves. We are shown various gradations of evil among the white slave owners, who range from heinously evil and vicious, to moderately cruel, to empathetic yet still condoning of the barbarous system. There are also nuanced differences among the slaves, from actively rebellious, to reluctantly submissive, to utterly defeated.
GREG: I don t think it s giving too much away to say that Solomon eventually returns home since the title is 12 Years a slave. When he does, he returns as the master of two worlds - the world of a free man and the world of a slave. We learn in the epilog that he goes on to fight against slavery as an abolitionist and member of the underground railroad. This is the fulfillment of his hero s journey: coming home with the elixir - the knowledge of what it is to be enslaved and the resolve to see slavery ended. 12 Years a Slave is as powerful a movie as any we ve seen this year. It s a painfully honest look at what it was to be a slave in the Antebellum South. It s one of those movies that we must watch so that we never forget and so that it can never happen again. I give 12 Years 5 out of 5 Reels and Solomon Northrup 5 Heroes out of 5. Movie: Hero:
SCOTT: Gotta agree with you, Greg. 12 Years a Slave is a searing look at the worst form of human abomination, namely, the disgrace of brutal slavery. If you re not in tears when you watch the relentless suffering, if your heart isnt bursting when you witness the powerful final scene of the movie, then you have no human heart. This is one of the year s best films and I nominate it for our REEL HEROES Hall of Fame. It most certainly deserves the full 5 Reels as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. And as you so aptly point out, it portrays the hero s journey most powerfully in its full form, earning it the full 5 Heroes as well. Movie: Hero:
12 years a slave is based on Solomon Northup's suffering as a slave. Solomon Northup was kidnapped in 1841 in New York and sold to slavery where he survives 12 years of torture and hard labour. The movie begins with a scene where Solomon Northup and other slaves are tendering sugarcane. The slaves led by Solomon Northup are mistreated in Sugar plantations even though Solomon manages to use his skills as a musician to gain favours from Master Ford (Northup, 2013). Solomon Northup was later transferred to the Cotton fields where he met the cruel Edwin Epps as the master. Under Edwin Epps, Solomon Northup experiences new form of barbarity especially to the frail Patsy. Edwin Epps mistreats slaves and a number of them are whipped. Solomon Northup while with Robert exclaims, '' I will not despair, I will wait till my freedom comes'' (Northup, 2013). Consequently, Robert while talking to Clemens states, '' we cannot allow to be mistreated by Epps, we have to fight'' (Northup, 2013). The development of the story in this movie is highly pegged on the suffering of the slaves and how they developed a sense of rebellion led by Solomon Northup (Northup, 2013).
The Movie 12 years a slave tackles the issue of slavery appropriately. The cast develops the main theme appropriately with Solomon Northup depicting how the slaves were mistreated and Edwin Epps showing how cruel the slave masters were. While talking to Mistress Epps, Edwin Epps states that, '' I will get rid of you before I go for Patsey''. This conversation gives the viewers of this film a sneak preview of how the slave masters were cruel to the slaves at the extend of threatening the lives of their own relatives (Li, 2014). The main theme is therefore vividly brought about by the movie director of this film. All the effects of Slavery have been shown with a majority of slaves suffering at the hands of the plantation owners.
Ideally, the cast of 12 Years a slave is comprised of experienced actors who help in bringing out the themes and its intended purpose very well Li, 2014). Solomon Northup, Edwin Epps, Patsey, and Brad Pitt lead a star studded line up which makes 12 years a slave an exciting film that meets its mandate of tackling the issue of slavery and its effects. The inclusion of the best actors in movie industries gives 12 years a slave an exceptional touch which originates from the popularity of this cast in various films that they have been involved in. Solomon Northup demonstrates vividly how the aspect of slavery is rife in America with a supporting role from Patsey and other actors.
Therefore, viewing 12 Years a Slave is recommended because of its demonstration that slavery was evil, an amazing cast led by Michael Fassbander, Brad Pitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Also, 12 years a slave manages to recapture what other movies have failed and this is incorporation of both societal, economic and political injustices to a fantastic cast.
|9,3 out of 10|
Now of course we've all heard about and seen films about this shameful part of history, but seeing it so frankly portrayed through the eyes of such an investing character means that it hits home far more. That's thanks in part of course to Chiwetel Ejiofor's oscar-winning performance, but its coupling that with the bravery of the filmmakers to go all the way that means things are as hard-hitting as they are.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Occasionally the delivery of certain elements take you out of it as the odd bit of sound design, cinematography and editing do bring the filmmaking a little too far into the foreground for its own good.
VERDICT: A powerful, disturbing and brave movie that does what all about this subject should do; '12 Years a Slave' is a film that everyone should see. Period.