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12 Years a Slave [DVD] [2013]

Chiwetel Ejiofor , Michael K. Williams , Steve McQueen    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: 10.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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This title will be released on May 12, 2014.
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12 Years a Slave [DVD] [2013] + Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [DVD] + The Railway Man [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams, Michael Fassbender
  • Directors: Steve McQueen
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: 12 May 2014
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00HR23CCM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Award-winning historical slave-narrative drama directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film follows the experience of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), an African-American living with a wife and two children in Saratoga, New York, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery by men claiming to offer him work as a circus musician. Transported by ship to New Orleans, it isn't long before he is given a new name and sold to William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), a relatively empathetic slave owner. But confrontations with the cruel and violent overseer John Tibeats (Paul Dano) lead to Solomon being passed on by Ford to the extremely abusive and alcoholic planter Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), who rules his slaves with a whip in one hand and a Bible in the other. Believing the only hope of regaining his freedom is to remain passive for the time being, Solomon ceases fighting against the illegitimacy of his situation until salvation is offered to him by a kindly labourer named Bass (Brad Pitt). The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o) and Best Adapted Screenplay, and won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama and BAFTAs for Best Leading Actor (Ejiofor) and Best Film.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the land of the free 12 Jan 2014
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
Solomon Northup, the son of a former slave, was a free man living in upstate New York when he was tricked, kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He spent twelve years working for a series of masters in the sugar and cotton plantations of the swampy Louisiana bayou country until regaining his freedom against the odds. This film is based on the account of his experiences, written in conjunction with a white lawyer called David Wilson, and authenticated, including in part by the drunken and sadistic Mr Epps, his final master.

With his artist's eye , McQueen brings out the beauty of the natural landscape, red sunrise over the river, hanging branches draped in Spanish moss, or the rhythmic power of the paddle-steamer, carving furrows through the sparkling water as it transports the captives to their harsh destiny. This film renounces any sentimentality, ramming home the fact that slaves were regarded as property so could be treated without any consideration or mercy. The only reason for keeping them alive was because an owner had paid good money for them, and they could earn more for him through their labour. We see how Mr Epps could terrorise a female slave with whom he had become sexually obsessed, whilst his wife tormented the poor woman at the same time out of jealousy.

Everyone will learn something different from this drama. In my case, it was the extent to which slaves were punished for being literate, since this was seen as giving access to knowledge and revolt. Ironically, slaves were then despised for the ignorance in which they were held. Also, when their stories were written with the help of a white people, it was claimed that hardships had been exaggerated by abolitionists to strengthen their case.

The violent beatings are hard to witness.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come and see 14 Jan 2014
I want to put into words how this film affected me, but, appropriately enough, there aren't the words there. Steve McQueen's adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir is a film in which words are precious and very carefully chosen - whether shouted or sung or uttered in whispers out of earshot of the savage ruling class.

Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a free man tricked into slavery. The story charts his ordeal - and those of countless others - under the tortuous watchfulness of a series of plantation owners, cruellest of whom is Edwin Epps (McQueen regular Michael Fassbender). It is a film whose relentless scenes of abuse are punctuated by levity of only the most desperate and solemn kind, and which is determinedly unbothered by the comforts of sentimentality.

Ejiofor captures the agony at the heart of Northup, from the initial indignity of his situation, through physical torture endured, observed and committed, to the brutal annihilation of his character through supremacist re-education. In place of the stock conclusions drawn by Hollywood, John Ridley's script has other ideas: rather than rousing speeches there are bursts of quickly-suppressed anger; instead of soaring emotion, upon release Northup remains bound in the shackles of guilt left upon him by the guilty.

As with his previous films (Hunger and Shame), McQueen embeds meaning in the frame. These aren't pretty images for the sake of it. The burning of a letter represents the dwindling of hope - and yet how long it seems to take to dwindle, and we linger until every sliver of fire is spent, staring ever harder for the remaining light in the darkness. Northup is staring also, unblinking, into the abyss of humanity around him, holding out for some such glimmer.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary. 12 Jan 2014
By self.
No movie that I have ever watched has depicted slavery so unflinchingly and earnestly. The fact that this film was based on a true story also adds something to its gravitas. I felt exhausted by the end of my viewing and there has been talk of people walking out of cinemas due to the raw intensity and the unflinching way in which the subject matter is tackled. But I say endure and you will be rewarded with the extraordinary true story of an American hero and a story that is long overdue in American cinema. There was debate about whether or not this was an important movie in the that country's cinema canon but for my money, considering that there seems to have been something preventing Hollywood and equally the country it belongs to addressing honestly the darkest chapter of their history, make no mistake, this is as important as movies get.

Brave, bold, committed filmmaking of the highest order.

Steve McQueen...I salute you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A man sold into slavery. 2 April 2014
By Lola
Some films just gag to get an Oscar, "12 Years a Slave" was so obviously a die-hard contender. Based on a first-person account, this drama about the African-American family man (free New Yorker in the middle of the Nineteenth century) drugged and kidnapped from his life as a successful violinist and sold into slavery truly has it all. It's an important true story (and a rare one - not so many movies were made about slavery in the USA), it has great cast of actors (who deliver profound stares at the camera and quotes such as "I don't want to survive - I want to live") from Chiwetel Ejiofor (impressive performance) to Benedict Cumberbatch (a "nice and humane" slave-owner), from Brad Pitt (free thinking Canadian contractor, also knows as a film producer) to Lupita Nyong'o (who won Oscar for her portrayal of an abused pet slave of a half-crazy Michael Fassbender's character).

There is violence, physical and emotional (widely spread within the 2 hours of the film), there is a powerful story (a dozen years of forced slavery), there is a great cast and beautiful direction. We follow the 12 years' journey of Solomon Northup from one Louisiana plantation to the next, under masters who come self-righteously benevolent and wild and unpredictably sadistic, 12 years of beating, indignities, false hopes and desperate attempts to not let one's identity go. It all ends well, with an achingly emotional final scenes (yet another tick for the Oscars).

"12 years a slave" is a thought-provoking and emotional film, somewhat hard to watch, it's a testament to the strength and courage of the human spirit, a story of life, loss and freedom. It's not the best film I saw, and I doubt I will be re-watching it any time soon, but nonetheless I appreciate its importance. Besides, it is very well made.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Could they have called it something else?
After seeing this at the cinema there's absolutely no denying that the acting is top notch, from Chiwetal Ejiofor to Michael Fassbender, by way of Paul Giamatti and Benedict... Read more
Published 21 days ago by thestath
3.0 out of 5 stars Great subject, great acting, but Jesus it's depressing
Great subject, great acting, but Jesus it's depressing. I mean, over 2 hours and it was quite a slow moving film with literally rape followed by hanging followed by whipping. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joshua Glennon
5.0 out of 5 stars FIFTY SHADES OF LILY WHITE
Solomon Northrup ( Chiwetel Ejiofor) a free black man living in Saratoga, NY is conned into coming to Washington DC where he is taken captive and forced into slavery as part of a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Movie Guy
2.0 out of 5 stars What a boring movie!
I listened to the hype and have to say that I was disappointed! What a long yet slow and boring movie! I walked away wondering WTF. Read more
Published 1 month ago by PersianPrince
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing
Not a comfortable viewing experience but considering the subject matter it shouldn't be. Enthralling, absorbing, powerful, beautiful, emotional and gut wrenching are some words... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. welch
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but over rated
A beautifully shot film, although a little arty at times, but the it didn't live up to expectations for me. Very over hyped.
Published 1 month ago by Lulu
5.0 out of 5 stars Best film of the last 3 years!
What can i say. Golden Globe Best Picture Winner
Academy Award Best Picture Nomination (Should be winner)
Academy and Globe Best Actor Nomination

This is an... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ben Booth
2.0 out of 5 stars A worthy subject doesn't make a great film
This film is so overrated! Yes, it's an (extremely) worthy subject, but other than the nudity and it's circumstances and Paul Giamatti's performance, the film is dull and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Simon Turner
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 Hours of racism
The most anticipated movie I have ever been looking forward to in years.
But was a little disappointed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by wink0011
3.0 out of 5 stars This is about something else, man!
When one of my friends mentioned this movie, I was reluctant to see it. Because having seen every possible interpretation of the slavery business, what could be different, right? Read more
Published 2 months ago by M. Erol Bozkurt
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