“12 Years a Slave” is based on the incredible true story of a man who tried to survive and fought for his freedom. Solomon Northup, a free man living in the state of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He has witnessed cruelty and unexpected kindness. Solomon fights not only to stay alive, but also to preserve his dignity. No one listens to Solomon when he claims to be a free man. While he’s undergoing the atrocities as a slave to undergo, he dreams of returning home.
“My sentimentality stretches the length of a coin.”
“12 Years a Slave” is an impressive adaptation of the diary of Solomon Northup, a free man who lived in Washington with his family in 1840. He’s approached by two businessmen who offer him a lucrative job in a circus as a musician. Solomon is drugged and abducted to the Southern states of America to be sold there as a slave. What follows is a gripping and horrific tale of a man who tries to survive in inhuman conditions and suffers under the authority of the white plantation owners who rule with a severe hand and who judge over the fate of these Afro-Americans.
And yet this film is not one that stands above everything else. Notwithstanding that this period may never be forgotten, at the end I had a “Here we go again” feeling. It’s not that long ago we saw “Django Unchained“, “The Butler” and “Lincoln“. Plus the fact that there were television series shown in the past like “Roots” and “North and South“. I hope that we can let this topic rest for a while now. I also found it strange that although Solomon demonstrates intelligence and seems to be a wise and eloquent man, apparently it wasn’t a reason to start worrying. If I were a landowner I would get rid of him as soon as possible. Also the fact that despite the trials Solomon stayed calm at all times (until the reunion with his family), seemed a little excessive to me. And in addition, the film title itself tells the complete story. You can’t be surprised anymore or enjoy some ingenious found twist.
A film that continues to resonate, a magnificent achievement in acting and for me an Oscar for Chiwetel Ejiofor. However, the movie itself is yet another one in a long row of the same.