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12 Years A Slave


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#1 YouOverThere

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:50 AM

Best...movie...ever

 

This is what a movie can be, but rarely is. There was actually a plot and characters that plausibly could have been real people, very unusual for a 21st century movie. 12 Years A Slave managed to be both inspiring and tragic. The lack of special effects and CGI was very refreshing.



#2 abatt

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:07 AM

Haven't seen the film yet, but it is based on Solomon Northrup's memoir Twelve Years a Slave. I assume that some of the characters in the film are based on Northrup's written account of what happened to him.



#3 YouOverThere

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:43 AM

Haven't seen the film yet, but it is based on Solomon Northrup's memoir Twelve Years a Slave. I assume that some of the characters in the film are based on Northrup's written account of what happened to him.

 

I haven't read the book (I hadn't even heard of the movie before yesterday), but my understanding that the movie pretty much follows the book with a few additions and deletions that don't have much impact on the central story.



#4 abatt

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:53 AM

This movie has made it on to a lot of Top 10 year end lists of critics, and is anticipated to be a big contender at the Oscars.  



#5 ABT Fan

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:10 AM

One of the most incredible and disturbing films I've ever seen.  Hard to breathe during certain parts.  I couldn't stop thinking about it for several days after.  Couldn't recommend it highly enough.



#6 abatt

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:20 AM

I saw this film last night.  It was haunting.  The beating scenes were difficult to watch.  Ejiofor's acting was great.  His part depended at least as much on facial expressions and body language as spoken dialogue.  



#7 Ray

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:30 PM

Well, here's a more critical take on the film, from which I quote:

"Some have pointed out that it’s simply being true to the historical record of Northup’s life. But the creative process begins with selection: which narratives we decide to privilege over others matters. [...] What would a cinematic aesthetic of American history look like without the white savior? Perhaps the myth of white American exceptionalism would begin to crumble. Filmmakers would have to struggle to find new ways of getting people of color out of tight situations. Unpredictability might ensue; creativity would thrive."



#8 abatt

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:15 PM

Virtually all of the white charcters in the film are portrayed as evil or indifferent, at best.  Brad Pitt is one of the very few white people portrayed as humane and good.  Under the circumstances, I'm not sure that the "white savior" argument of this author makes much sense. 

 

I thought the big "speech" delievered by Pitt  was too florid and grandiose. They could have had him voice his sentiments about the evils of slavery with more believable dialogue. By the way, Pitt was offered the role  of Epps, but turned it down because he did not want his kids to see him playing such an evil character. 



#9 dirac

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:47 PM

Thank you for the link, Ray. The arguments presented by Older are familiar ones - the debate over Hollywood stories that are ostensibly about black oppression but feature a white movie star or focus on white activism is ongoing.  Lincoln excited a number of lively arguments on the topic. My own favorite Bad Example is Cry Freedom, a picture that purported to be the story of Steve Biko but is actually about a nice white journalist played by Kevin Kline who gets radicalized. As the writer of Ray's article points out, it isn't so much a question of fiddling with the story to eliminate any good white guys but a matter of which stories are reaching the screen and why. Not having seen 12 Years a Slave I cannot judge, but the movie has a black protagonist (with no Christoph Waltz in a fat part to steal the show) and it seems to me that should be regarded as progress from Older's point of view.




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