Monday, February 3, 2014

12 Years A Slave is 2 Hours of Sadism

12 Years A Slave
is, well, dull. 

Exquisitely photographed and acted, it just has no story, beyond guy gets kidnapped and is made a slave and eventually gets free. (Before you accuse me of spoiling it, the title gives that away.) 

The script lifts much of the unspeakable dialogue from the original memoir whole. (Which some scholars speculate is courtesy the ghost writer apolitician hired to help write Solomon Northrup's memoir, and who was prone to complexifying his dialogue to impress the Reconstruction era reader.) The ridiculously one dimensional characters (evil white guys except for Brad Pitt, and noble black characters, with the exception of the tantalizingly interesting Alfre Woodard's mistress to a white man character) make Gone With The Wind look positively Shavian. And the long, clinical wide shots actually reduced my emotional involvement. Very odd directing choices, verging on the pretentious. And because the lead character is by circumstance essentially a passive victim, his freedom falls flat.

The film is worth seeing for the acting and photography, both excellent.

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