By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Steve McQueen.
Written by: John Ridley.
MPAA Rating: R.
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup), Lupita Nyong’o (Patsey) and Michael Fassbend (Epps).
Running Time: 134 minutes.
In Spain, no matter how bad you might be as a director or writer, if you make a movie or write a book about General Franco or the Spanish Civil War, people will be talking about it for weeks. You can experience the same feeling when you see a movie about racism in the United States. The topic sells itself. And add a director like Steve MacQueen plus the title “Based on a true story” and the rest is well known. 12 Years a Slave (2013) shows the story of a free black man from New York (Solomon Northup) who was kidnapped and made to work on a plantation in New Orleans. Solomon had to learn to “survive and live” in the worst conditions of slavery. From the beginning to the end, MacQueen links brilliantly scenes full of harsh experiences. Faith, power, torture, hope, exploitation and many others actions and feelings that characterized this period of time in US can be seen in this film in a deep way to make you feel and think about it several times.
And if we have praised the movie a lot, why did we rank it (8/10) lower that most reviewers and movie buffs? Because its scenes were made as if people involved were more concerned with making their audience wince than with making a movie that could merge reality and art together to a point that both of them become one, which is in my opinion, a good definition about what a great movie is. Many directors place particular emphasis on fiction, facts or reality and tend to forget that the film-making was once called the Seventh Arts. 12 Years a Slave (2013) shows a lot of pieces of reality and emotions, but it needed more artistic brushstrokes from a movie viewpoint.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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