⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stars

Quick Verdict – A worthy Oscar winner


In 1841 Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who lives in Boston, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south. He then spends the next twelve years moving round owners including, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender. Unfortunately this is all I can say without spoiling the film.

***SPOILERS*** Only read on if you’ve seen the film, or don’t care if I ruin it.

The reason I say that is because I didn’t realise that the film is based on a true story. Not only that, it was a book written by Solomon Northup himself. Also if you are wondering, yes I did feel a little stupid when I found out. This did mean however, that I had no idea whether Solomon was going to survive after his twelve years.

What can I say about the film? I was transfixed by it. The acting superb, a story well told, and a film that gives a horrific insight into the world of slavery.

Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is truly terrifying as Solomon’s second owner, you never know when he’s going to explode and what the consequences will be. The scene where Patsy is punished, shows what he is capable of. And when his wife throws the bottle of whisky at Patsy’s head made me jump.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Dano also perform admirably, and Brad Pitt’s brief appearance is up to his usual standard. Still can’t understand how the Italian promo poster had just Brad on it, you’d be pretty disappointed if you went to watch this film just for him. Lupita Nyong’o’s performance truly deserved the best Supporting Actress Oscar. I thought Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance was amazing and also Oscar worthy, I haven’t watched Dallas Buyers Club yet so can’t compare.

All in all, a great Best Picture film, telling a harrowing story. Like all films of this style, you’ll need to be in the right mood to see it. It’s not the kind of film to stick on when you want to switch off, but this is certainly worth a watch and I am in favour of Steve McQueen’s dream to make the book part of the schools curriculum.

Watch this if you like –

  • Django Unchained
  • Amistad
  • Shame