Rent 12 Years a Slave (2013)

3.9 of 5 from 1391 ratings
2h 8min
Rent 12 Years a Slave Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
From acclaimed director Steve McQueen comes the incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. It is 1841 and Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbertder) and must find the strength within to survive. In his twelfth year in captivity, a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.
Actors:
, , , , Dickie Gravois, , , , , Cameron Zeigler, , , , , , Mister Mackey Jr., , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
Writers:
John Ridley, Solomon Northup
Others:
John Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o, Adam Stockhausen, Sean Bobbitt, Alice Baker, Patricia Norris, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker, Hans Zimmer, Joe Walker
Studio:
E1 Entertainment
Genres:
Drama
Awards:

2014 BAFTA Best Actor

2014 BAFTA Best Film

2014 Oscar Best Supporting Actress

2014 Oscar Best Picture

2014 Oscar Best Adapted Screen Play

BBFC:
Release Date:
12/05/2014
Run Time:
128 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • The Team: Meet the creative minds assembled by director Steve McQueen to bring Solomon Northup's journey to life
  • The Score: Follow film composer Hans Zimmer creating his dramatic score
BBFC:
Release Date:
12/05/2014
Run Time:
133 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • The Team: Meet the creative minds assembled by director Steve McQueen to bring Solomon Northup's journey to life
  • The Score: Follow film composer Hans Zimmer creating his dramatic score
  • A Historical Portrait: Explore director Steve McQueen's unique artistry in bringing this remarkable story to life in this documentary including cast and crew interviews

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Reviews (14) of 12 Years a Slave

Impressive to look at but lacks emotion - 12 Years a Slave review by PC

Spoiler Alert
13/06/2014

I feel bad about criticising a film that tries to tell an important story in a simple way without resorting to stereotypes. There are many aspects of the film that are truly impressive, the cinematography and the acting is first rate. I just wasn't gripped by the film, it truly meanders at time and fails to give depth to the characters despite the actors efforts. It really fails where something like Schindler's List succeeded, I expected to be uplifted by the end but just felt there was more to tell of his interesting life.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Like a dark Disney adventure - 12 Years a Slave review by RL

Spoiler Alert
22/07/2014

It is the American way to overdo things, labour points and 'Disney-fy' every story they tell. This should have been a great film about a the depths that man is able to sink to and intolerable cruelty. Instead, it drags on and on and on and labours the most painful points so badly that you feel the film-makers are assuming you be too slow-witted to keep up.

Of course it won awards. It's a 'popular' subject these days and there's nothing like piling people on board the bizarre guilt-trip that we are all supposed to be on for things that we couldn't possibly have altered!!! Honestly, I think Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' packs more of a punch in reminding us of how brutally evil mankind can be.

As mentioned by another reviewer, this film fails in the way that 'Schindler's List' succeeds. With such bleak subject matter, why make it all so 'Hollywood'? Again, previously mentioned, the depiction of "pantomime white villains and angelic blacks" does the reality no credit.

3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

'Slavery is a tragedy that should befall none.' - 12 Years a Slave review by Milstead On Movies

Spoiler Alert
07/07/2014

12 Years A Slave is a remarkably harrowing and uncomfortable watch based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in pre-Civil War New York, abducted from his wife and family and sold into the diabolical slave trade where he spent each day doing all he could to survive.

Director Steve McQueen (no, not that one) isn't afraid to show all the horrific ordeals of forced slavery, mothers separated from their children, 'inferior' workers flogged, whipped and occasionally hung.

Every single performance in this film is fantastic, Chiwetel Ejiofor appears in virtually every scene, mostly as a passive character who witnesses and experiences all the atrocities, but his performance is nevertheless excellent, especially in the closing stages. Lupita Nyony'o thoroughly deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar as Patsey, whom Solomon befriends on a cotton plantation owned by the seething, dictatorial, cynically evil Epps (Michael Fassbender).

Not all the white people are the bad guy though, and some of them even help Solomon to win back his freedom, but these characters are few and far between and even those who do have redeeming qualities simply don't lessen the impact of Solomon's ordeal.

It's no surprise at all that this film was named Best Picture of 2013. An accolade most truly deserved.

2 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

12 Years a Slave review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso

An utterly unflinching and unashamed look at one of the biggest failures of men against their own kind, 12 Years a Slave is one of those films that leave a mark on your long after you leave the theatre; a masterpiece with more than just a movie-message, but rather a memory that reaches deep into social and personal consciousness.

Telling the true story of a black man born free in New York in the early 19th Century Steve McQueen’s newest film follows the shocking and tragic events of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a proud and hard working family man who, following an offer of a week’s worth of well paid work in Washington leaves his home to chase success few African Americans could hope for at the time.

The night after a drunken celebration however Northup awakens to find himself in an unfamiliar and dark place, what follows is one of the most nightmarish scenes I have yet witnessed, as he attempts to rise only to find heavy chains trailing from his limbs and catching the small amount of light in the room, causing them to glint like knives.

Using a fairly non-linear narrative pattern McQueen steps back and forth between the present – and the still rumbling repercussions of Northup’s enslavement – and the darker past; yet his controlled directorial hand and the exceptional performances keep audiences engaged from start to finish. With each minor kindness offered by Solomon’s slavers the audience is offered a consequence, a painful stab in the back often incurred years later, whilst McQueen and his editor Joe Walker deftly manipulate time and space to ensure each of these blows finds the most painful point at which to strike.

Moving further and further South through America Solomon, now facing the ultimate humiliation renamed Platt by his new masters, experiences the spectrum of plantation owners – from a God fearing man (perfectly played by Britain’s current “it actor” Benedict Cumberbatch) who attempts to aid his newest acquisition by providing him with a fiddle to entertain himself to a violent and hypocritical master who both beats and sleeps with his slaves at regular intervals.

Although I have given 12 Years a Slave the highest rating available to me in my capacity as a reviewer I would certainly not say that I enjoyed watching the film, the film is challenge to watch (not just because of the deplorable violence openly displayed on screen) and at more than two hours it isn’t easy to sit all the way through. Yet it’s raw emotional depiction of humanity, both the good and the utterly evil, and incredible performances from the well selected cast I was certainly glad, almost grateful in fact, that I was able to watch the whole thing.

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