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Review Essay On 12 Years A Slave

779 words - 4 pages

As the overseers look over the slaves in disdain as they laboured in the hot scorching sun, the film “12 Years a Slave” begins with a group of black slaves working hard in the field, a time in American history considered to be inhumane, abhorrent and perhaps taboo considering the manner in which people were treated. The movie tells of the story of a freed black man sold into the crippling bondages of slavery and later emancipated after twelve long years. The movie was directed by Steve McQueen based on a true story by a man named Solomon Northup.
The protagonist of the story, Solomon Northup played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a man who was sold into slavery after being drugged and tricked into believing he would be working with a group of travelling performers. The once freed man had been shackled down and imprisoned by his open trustworthiness to strangers. He shifted from being a notable person in his area to a subhuman living only at the discretion of the master’s whip. Steve McQueen captures the hurtful truth and the brutality that was involve in the slave trade during the 19th century in the Southern states of America. The choruses of chants of the slaves in the field -as they toil the soil and picked cotton- and the sweeping landscape of Louisiana painting the grotesque picture of the life of a slave. Chris Vogner describes it as, “… a movie of paradoxical beauty, with the weeping willows and painting skies of Louisiana mocking the human torment that permeates the story.” The long shots of Ejiofor, bone deep emotions showing through his eyes, his face contorting into misery and becoming twisted from years of turmoil and battering. However, despite the predicament on Solomon Northup, the character displayed strong optimism that justice would be served. Nevertheless, they were treated like animals and said to be worthless by slave masters who believe that they have the right to own a human being. The movie heightens the brutality and merciless actions at the master’s hand because of their distaste of these people who they have enslaved.
McQueen manages to portray the reality of the detrimental situations African- Americans had to be put through. Scenes of rape, whippings and long hours of...

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