12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen
Year Released: 2013
Rating: 2.0

New York resident Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor, simply outstanding), an educated man with a gift for playing the violin, gets kidnapped and sold into slavery (!), going from owner to owner, abusive situation to abusive situation, lashing to lashing, insane white guy to insane white guy. Since no rational, civil human being wants to see powerless people beaten repeatedly, the only response is revulsion and righteous indignation (what else should one feel but horror?) - every lash that hits human flesh is a lash at the audience. As with other films made about the atrocities committed by the South, what is this hoping to accomplish? Does anyone with an even slight awareness of history not know about the torture? Does anyone still think this was a good idea? Michael Fassbender and Paul Dano's one-dimensional mutants rave and foam at the mouth; it isn't until Northup meets a reasonable non-American (Brad Pitt) that he manages to escape. Maybe it's 'hip' of me, but I actually prefer Tarantino's treatment of slavery with Django Unchained in which the oppressed enact revenge on their oppressors.