John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Typical Social justice bullshit, trying to make blacks feel like victims, 200 + years later all for democratic votes....
I wasn't looking forward to seeing this film despite it's worthy subject and the array of talented actors who worked on it because I hadn't enjoyed director Steve McQueen's previous film Shame (2011). I have some of the same problems that I had with that film that I do with this, it's overly self-conscious in it's execution and doesn't have a clear point of view, but this is a significant achievement in terms of how it's shot and the ability to subvert it's genre that it possesses. This is a much more deserving Best Picture winner than The King's Speech (2010) and The Artist (2013) but I think that far more interesting, current films were released in 2013 that were more deserving of critical praise.
Solomon Northup, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a free African-American living with his family in Saratoga, New York in the mid 1800s as he works as a violinist. He is tricked by two white men who kidnap him and sell him into slavery under the pretense of providing him with temporary employment. He works as a slave under two different men, the cowardly but relatively sympathetic William Ford, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the cruel, brutal Edwin Epps, Michael Fassbender. He faces incredible abuse from both men and watches other slaves face equally horrible treatment as he tries to find a way to get home.
The novelty of seeing a film about the struggles that African-Americans face from the perspective of an African-American shouldn't be so great but with Driving Miss Daisy (2019) and Green Book (2019) also having won this film's attention to that viewpoint is positive. My issue with the viewpoint is that Northup isn't a particularly interesting main character as his home life, his motivation for staying alive throughout the film, isn't built up that much at the beginning of the film and he is mainly a bystander to the unfortunately more fascinating action involving the evil white slaveholders. It's not that he's a terrible main character we still feel for him and it is an emotional moment when he is reconciled with his wife and children but with a film that feels like a historical epic you expect a main character as compelling as Scarlett O'Hara or Captain Benjamin Willard.
McQueen does a great job as director as he makes the decision to use a lot of lingering shots whether to show the unrelenting brutality of the situation or the disturbing willful ignorance of the slaveholders' relations. The scene in which Northup has faced an attempted hanging, stopped by another man, but remains hanging, his feet stumbling across the marshy lands below him while women languidly engage in everyday pastimes around him. The horror of his situation and his utter hopelessness to stop it as even the more gentle white southerners refuse to help him felt honest and viscerally emotional in a way that few films that approach the topic do.
The cinematography is fabulous as Sean Bobbitt contrasts the incredible beauty of the Southern environment with the harshness of the treatment that the African Americans receive. Watching the beautiful Sarah Paulson stand serenely in a billowing white dress in the morning light watch an African-American be brutally whipped by her husband, having done nothing wrong, while having no response is horrifying. At times the film feels Terrence Malick-like as he pauses the progression of the film to take beautiful shots of the wind blowing the willow trees or the sunset flashing on the stalks of the plants. I stopped at times to simply marvel at how beautiful the film looked but not as though I was so disinterested in the film that I needed to focus on something else but because I was impressed by the scenery.
I appreciate this film for what it does and some of what it tries to do but it didn't pack the emotional punch for me that I felt it should have if better executed. In terms of 2013 films I would say that The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) was a better, more memorable film than this one and a more deserving Best Picture winner. I didn't expect to get as much out of this film as I did but it wasn't on the level of Schindler's List (1993) or even Beloved (1998).
Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom.
This movie has a very deep meaning of what itï¿ 1/2(TM)s like to experience being treated and used as a slave.
This is history that needs to be told, and for the critics who say that the film's depiction of slavery is way too "one-dimensional", well, maybe they should consider that the whites were truly such brutally mean bastards to think that the color of their skin could classify one into human or property. That being said though, while the story is captivating, I had issues with the screenplay, which was slightly inconsistent in areas and in others a little (just a little) too drawn out. Other than that, though, McQueen did a great job with the direction, and the ensemble keeps everything together. Ejiofor and Nyong'o are great and emotion is written all over their faces, but for me at least, Fassbender was the star. To think that such a naturally good guy could transform into such a wicked, condescending jack-ass blew me away.
Strengths: Itâ(TM)s clear why this won Best Picture, even if it wasnâ(TM)t my pick for that year. It tells a captivating story where our hero is unjustly put into a horrible situation and has to endure some truly terrible things. The first scene where he is beaten shortly after getting kidnapped is brutal. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup) is outstanding in the lead role. Heâ(TM)s powerful, emotional, and we can rally behind him in the toughest of times. Lupita Nyongâ(TM)o (Patsey) gives one of the best supporting performances I can recall. Sheâ(TM)s incredible. The scene where Solomon has to whip her is barbaric, heartbreaking, and hard to watch in the best possible way. Michael Fassbender (Edwin Epps) and Benedict Cumberbatch (William Ford) are both great in completely different ways, while Brad Pitt (Samuel Bass) does a lot in a small role. The cast is really something special. Steve McQueen is excellent as the director, capturing every emotion that was needed to make this story work. The screenplay allows for plenty of room for big moments to breath and for key scenes to develop without much dialogue. I lastly want to commend the design of everything. As noted, this film captures exactly what it needs to. From the costumes to the sets to the tone, it all works.
Weaknesses: There are several times where the movie feels like its dragging its feet. There was definitely at least a few things that could be cut. Just around two hours would have probably been ideal. However, I do think an extra scene or so was needed to really establish the relationship between Solomon and his family. It wouldâ(TM)ve really added to the drama.
What an incredibly dull and boring film.
almost perfect movie
acting was great
camera work was perfect and chilling at times
character development is amazing and emotional to watch
the movie could feel slow, some people might say certain scenes were drawn out. for the most part the pacing of the movie was good
the effects of the movie are very realistic, so realistic that you sit there wondering why humans are such a shtty species
this movie does a good job of showing what people went through, very emotional
This movie totally missed me on the emotional level that so many people got to and the filmmakers tried to reach. The central character that we follow throughout the film does not at all have enough productive screen time to get in his head and understand the torment that we are seeing. This film is really a lot of seeing things happening and rarely ever trying to get the audience to feel what is happening (with the exception of one great scene involving a mother being split up from her children). However, the technical mastery behind the set designs, very patient precise editing, and a very superb handling of some vicious sequences were enough to suck me and pleasantly experience the unpleasant. It was clear that every scene had such a precise setup to show the harshness of these times. So overall, for me, it was a pretty solid watch that didnâ(TM)t invest me enough emotionally to make me want to revisit it again.
No doubt a very tough watch, but a necessary watch, 12 Years A Slave showcases slavery at its worst making for a deeply heartbreaking yet extremely necessary and flawless watch creating a strong, impactful and brilliant movie that is amongst the best movies of the 2010s, with a mesmorizing starring performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup.