Whatever you does, do not bring your significant other to see Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years A Slave, unless you want to go 12 years without having sex. A most important movie, filled with zero fun, and has about as much rewatchable-ness as Schindler’s List done doesn’t (which means you’ll never want to watch it EVERRRR again). Actually, after seeing 12 Years, I’ve now had enough of the slavery movie genre. No mo fo me. Add it to the list of non-starters, alongside Holocaust pics + westerns + rom coms + anything with vampires or zombies + anything directed or presented by Guillermo del Taco
12 Years is truly important, cause it fo reals happened – it’s what happened to a born-free black man named Solomon Northup, wrongfully turned into a slave. This story, based on Solomon’s own book, certainly needed to be told (it was once before), but I don’t know if I needed it told to me. I’m not one for turning a blind eye to things that are horrible in history, but I also wasn’t eggzactly all that interested in having my senses blinded and numbed completely. Maybe the point is that watching something so hard to take should be exactly that, but c’mon man, couldn’t they have at least cut out 1/4 of the whipping and yelling and awfulness and made this excruciating experience only 90 minutes long??? We know that Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor, FINALLLLLLY with a meaty role to match his acting might) will become a slave, and then 12 years later, not be a slave. And so we’re forced to watch him go from 0 to 12 years, without a clue as to which year we’re in. If only there was a countdown ticker, so we could get excited about crossing the finish line of this torture-fest
But hey, look at all those famous actors playing horrible people!! Solomon gets conned by Scoot ‘Poop’ McNairy! & Taran Killam!, and sold into slavery! Where he’s chained up with Michael K Williams! Then sold by Paul Giamatti! To Benedict Cumberbatch! Who’s plantation-hand Paul Dano! is out of hand and forces Benedict to send Solomon to the much more evil plantation owner (and McQueen regular) Michael Fassbender! And his nasty wife Sarah Paulson! Well, at least he can find some sympathy in slaves Lupita Nyong’o! (don’t know who she is, but won’t be soon forgetting her performance), and former slave or something Alfre Woodard! Don’t worry, things get better once (the film’s producer) Brad Pitt! and his Amish beard show up! Maybe Brad can save the day!! But where’s Clooney???? Why can’t the whole Ocean’s 12 crew free the slave of 12 yearss?? Oh yeah, and oh, look there’s Beasts of the Southern Wild alumz Quvenzhané Wallis AND Dwight Henry! Man, slavery has never been so well cast and acted!
Am I better for seeing this film? Maybe better off not. But what’s been seen was seen, and it aint going away, from my head, or from history. And oh, that final scene – a scene that packs a super-HEAVY emotional punch that’s equally AS punchy as Captain Phillips‘ UNFORGETTABLE final scene wiz was, making the torturous torture ALMOS worth letting yerself get tortured by
But c’mon McQueen, when are you going to make a ‘happy’ movie?
Verdictgo: hard to watch, but still – Jeepers Worth A Peepers
12 Years is how long it will feel like sitting in a theater watching this, tomorrow in NY/LA/DC/Chicago/ATL/Toronto, and elsewhere elsehwhen
and until next thyme the balcony is clothed…