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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'12 Years A Slave': A Stunningly Powerful Depiction of One Man's Struggle to Escape Slavery

Movie poster for the film 12 Years A Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender

“12 Years A Slave” (2013) is the feature film adaption of Solomon Northup's 1853 autobiography, detailing his abduction and forced subjugation into a life of slavery in rural Louisiana between between 1841 and 1853.

As the central free-man-turned-slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor is phenomenal and unforgettable in his aggrieved personification of Northup, while Michael Fassbender is stunningly assured as the malevolent plantation owner, Edwin Epps, who menaces Northup and his fellow slave laborers sadistically. A world-class ensemble of supporting performers (including Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt) further benefit the proceedings through a myriad of modest but crucial roles—the entire cast delivering absolutely top notch performances from top-to-bottom.

Winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture, “12 Years A Slave” is a harrowing yet impeccable piece from British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen (Shame, Widows) that benefits immensely from the director's ability to capture human emotion and intimacy in an utterly exquisite visual manner. It's a no-holds-barred exposition of American slavery in all of its brutality, highlighted by brief yet vital hints of humanity—an essential cinematic experience not to be missed.


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