Virtual 12 YEARS A SLAVE

Steve McQueen / Cert 15 / 131 mins / UK, USA (2013)

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"'12 Years a Slave' isn't simply a masterpiece, it's a milestone. This, at last, really is history written with lightning."  ★★★★★  Telegraph

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man and violinist from upstate New York, is tricked away from home and then abducted and sold into slavery in Louisiana under a dead slave's name. Facing cruelty personified by a malevolent slave owner (Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive but to retain his dignity.  In the twelfth year of his nightmare odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) allows him to get word out that he's being wrongfully held.

The source for Steve McQueen's multi-award winning movie was the memoir that the real Solomon Northup wrote in 1853.  Adhering unflinchingly to the facts recorded by Northup, the film's strength lies in its frankness and avoidance of either sentimentality or contemporary irony.  The distinguished cast features Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Lupita Nyong'o, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for her role as abused slave Patsey.  Winning the Best Picture Oscar made multi-disciplinary McQueen (artist, writer and filmmaker) the first Black British director of a Best Picture winner.  "Brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema." Rotten Tomatoes

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