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on 2 May 2016
OK... on a serious note... By 1841, the British Empire had banned the world wide slave trade. It did this, because if Britain didn't have free labour, nobody else would. Britain was the first slave nation to ban slavery throughout it's Empire, and, the fact that Britain was the first industrial nation, workers worked better when paid wages. Britain also had the biggest navy in the world, which meant it could stop what was known as "The Middle Passage". That being, the shipping of Africans from Africa, to the New World. What does this have to do with this film? EVERYTHING. Because America could not import enough slaves, the salve owners resorted to kidnapping free black people from the Northern free states. One being Solomon Northup. And this is his story.

Let me say that slavery was and still is an evil social-economic system, that has been in use for 1,000s of years. In 1841, half the Russian population were Serfs. That is white people enslaving other white people. So when watching this film, I thought about the slaves of ancient
Roman times, and how they were treated, but, Roman slaves had MORE rights than American slaves. I also thought of the sex slaves of ISIS, and the people trafficking of today. Sadly, slavery is still alive and well all over the world. Needles to say, I hate slavery, no matter where or when it is.

I am British, and I am very proud of of my country and it's people. Yes, we did start the North American slave trade, but we were the first to stop it. Just remember this, more Africans fought for the British against the Americans in the "so-called" American revolution. And those who did, were freed and taken to Canada. Just Google, The Book of the Negroes. I am also proud of the fact that both Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor are British. I say this, because this film would be have been s*** if made with a American star and director. If this film was directed by Spike Lee or Steven Spielberg, it would have been an over long "message " movie, with a somewhat happy ending. This film is possible, one the best films of the decade, and easily the best Oscar winner of the last 10 years or more.

Hollywood produces such rubbish these days. Big budget 100 million dollar plus movies, that say nothing about the human condition, where as this (British) film had a relative small budget of 22 million dollars, and will be seen and talked about for many years ahead, more that can be said of the DC and Marvel "franchise" schlock that passes as "entertainment" these days.

A film like this comes only once in a generation, so you will have to wait a long time before you see anything as powerful and as truthful as this.
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on 26 December 2015
A Powerful film, the love of money surley is behind most forms of evil, I find it almost unfathomable that people could quote scriptures while whipping, raping and murdering their fellow man. Truth be told William Wilberforce attended the same church as one of the most prolific slavers in the UK. It was only recently that I researched people such as Frederick Douglas, John Brown and the slave revolts across the US and the Caribbean. God is not mocked whatsoever a person sows that shall they also reap. Other offerings like Slaver by Another Name, Black Wallstreet etc give other harrowing accounts of this most evil of practices. It's very unnerving that even now people especially women and children are used as sex slave to the very day. The US criminal justice system is a new form of slavery, they only have 5% of the earth's population but 25% of the earth's prison population.
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on 20 May 2014
A fine film - its plaudits were fairly predictable especially on the basis of the subject matter but - fair enough - it's well done. Blends well the themes of brutality, hope / hopelessness, humanity and a legalistic version of religion. The viewer sees that events are occurring in a land - in a mentality - where there is an inherent blindness to the hideousness of slavery.

So why not 5 stars? No spoilers here, suffice to say that I found the ending a little truncated as was the lead in to that ending.

The certificate of 15 I would also say is good in that it will include more viewers but - beware - it isn't for the faint hearted.
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on 4 March 2015
I couldn't help but compare this film to Django Unchained, which I watched shortly before this, but the two films are poles apart. This film was in places hard to watch, the whipping of Patsy & just a brief glimpse at how the skin is no protection from a whip - and the scene where Solomon is left half hanging while life goes on around him is particularly painful, as the scene seems to go on forever as if time has stood still.
Steve McQueen should be very proud of this film as should all the actors involved. Everyone should see it.
Then, after you've got over it, go and watch Mississippi Burning - another fine film - and see how the mindset of some has remained the same for a hundred years.
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on 15 May 2014
This film was at times be very hard to watch and Steve McQueen has not held back in portraying an unrelenting cycle of physical and psychological violence and abuse. I think we have become accustomed to having a certain level of amnesia about slavery; well it was a long time ago and it couldn't have been that bad, could it? But watching "12 Years a Slave" is something of a shock to the system as there is nothing to temper the suffering.

Eliza's despair, Patsey's tortured life and Solomon's reunion with his family after gaining his freedom were for me some very moving parts of the film! With some excellent acting from the cast especially Ejiofor as Solomon, Fassbender as Epps and Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey, I think Steve McQueen has done a great job and this is definitely worth watching.
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on 6 December 2015
Without a doubt one of the most harrowing films of recent memory, Chiwetel Ejiofor deserved the Oscar but to be fair everyone that starred in the film deserves an Oscar, the director Steve McQueen ( the director , not the actor, unless the late great has decided to direct on a diet of brains) has created an incredible feat of realism with some of the most brutal acts of violence shown unflinchingly on screen, and with a devastatingly bitter sweet ending that had me crying like a little girl, my only issue is, as amazing as it is, it's not the easiest film to watch more than once because it is so stomach charmingly realistic, with every memorable moment being either horrific or sob inducing, superb, but not entertaining.
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on 17 March 2015
This is a hard hitting, and I would say a profoundly shocking film of human misery. It exposes the cruelty and depravity that man can subject his fellow human beings to. The performances are stellar and first class. Be prepared to feel revulsion and sorrow. Racial domination and injustice in societies still exists of course, it is more subtle and maybe less obvious now. But in the 21st century we know that there continues kidnapping, people trafficking, slavery, abuse and cruelty. Watch this film because it will help you understand how little progress we have made when you compare it to the global condition of peoples today.
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on 19 June 2014
I loved this film, the four stars are just a reflection of the rather abrupt ending and that it left me with a feeling that I wanted to know more of Soloman's life. Sadly the ending was not explored as thoroughly as the rest of the account and, for me, the most important part was added on almost as an after thought. Nonetheless, this is a cracking film and the portrayal of the brutal side of mankind balanced with the need to survive in the face of it is explored very subtly. The postscripts to the film beg an answer to the question of 'What is Freedom?'
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on 13 June 2014
Had seen this previously on an air flight and wanted to see more clearly at home. Blue-Ray did not appear particularly outstanding, but perhaps it is my TV at fault. Some of the diction needed improving and the scenes in some cases were rather dark. It is not a film that one can necessarily enjoy because of harrowing scenes of brutality, but it does make you think of how cruelly black people were treated at that particular time in history, and continues today in some countries. Probably needs to be seen more than once to get the full gist of events and to give more appreciation of the acting skills and production of the film.
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on 9 June 2015
It took a while for me to get round to watching this. I thought it might be quite heavy and I missed out on it at the cinema. I also will admit that in the back of my mind, I may have been thinking that this film got so much acclaim and the Oscars because of politics and perhaps people were exaggerating how good it is because of the issues involved. However now that I've seen it, I can honestly say that this film is a masterpiece and helps eradicate another fleeting opinion in the back of my mind that there are no good new films emerging. I must confess to having shed one or two tears. Moving and just brilliant, this film is unmissable.
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